European court backs A-B branding rights

A European court has upheld Anheuser-Busch’s right to use Budweiser and Bud brand names on merchandise including T-shirts and barbecue sauces, rejecting a challenge by Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar.

Budvar, which sells its beer under the name of Czechvar in the United States, sought to prevent Anheuser-Busch from registering the brand names as trademarks for non-beer products in the 27-nation European Union, saying Budweiser comes from Budweis, the name its home town Ceske Budejovice went by for centuries.

“The court finds that the appellations of origin relied on by Budejovicky Budvar are protected . . . only for beer and similar products,” the Court of First Instance, the EU’s second-highest court, said.