British court rules for Czech 'Bud'

Status quo reigns: 'Budweiser' and 'Bud' brands names still shared

Feb 18, 2003 - Anheuser-Busch has lost its latest legal effort to prevent Czech rival Budejovicky Budvar from using "Budweiser Budvar" and "Bud" in the United Kingdom, although the decision won't affect A-B's operations there.


A ruling on Monday by the House of Lords, the country's highest civil court, ends legal action by A-B to revoke these two trademarks owned by Budejovicky Budvar.

In the mid-1990s, A-B asked the U.K. Patent Office to revoke Budvar's trademark registration of these two names, alleging that the Czech brewer had allowed the trademark to lapse due to non-use. Although the Patent Office decided that no lapse occurred, A-B has been appealing this decision.

Earlier decisions in the British courts already had required A-B, the world's largest brewer, to share "Budweiser" and "Bud" brand names with Budvar. A-B owns a brewery in the United Kingdom, which is the company's second-largest market.

A-B started using the Budweiser name in 1876, which is 19 years before the Czech brewery opened. But the Czechs maintain "Budweiser" refers to 'Budweis,' the original name of the city where Budvar is located, and that the name commonly referred to beer brewed in that area hundreds of years before Anheuser-Busch started brewing Budweiser.

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