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Battle of beer brands: Czechs mull appeal on EU 'Bud' ruling

23 January 2013, 13:05 CET
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(PRAGUE) - Czech state-owned brewer Budejovicky Budvar said on Wednesday it might appeal against a European court ruling giving global giant Anheuser-Busch (AB) the right to use the "Bud" trademark across the European Union.

"We are considering an appeal. We are not exactly happy with the verdict," Budejovicky Budvar spokesman Petr Samec told AFP regarding the ruling on Tuesday, adding the brewery could file for recourse with the European Court of Justice.

The General Court of the European Union dismissed an action brought by the Czech brewery as part of a long legal battle over the ownership of the trademark in Europe.

AB, initially a US company, has been bought by the Belgian-Brazilian group AB Inbev, a publicly traded company based in Leuven, Belgium.

AB Inbev is the world's leading brewer and one of the globe's top five consumer products companies.

Budejovicky Budvar, ranked by Forbes as the Czech Republic's fourth-biggest brewer, has meanwhile secured rights to the "Bud" brand in several European countries including the Benelux countries, Britain or France.

"The ruling will not hamper our business activities in the EU. In countries where we have registered the 'Bud' trademark, these trademarks remain valid," Budejovicky Budvar lawyer Helena Votrelova said in a statement.

Samec added however that this "co-existence" created room for further legal disputes on the national level.

The global legal battle over the right to use the "Bud" brand has been fought for over a century.

Budejovicky Budvar has based its claim on historic rights -- in German, Budweiser, or Bud in short, refers to beer produced in Ceske Budejovice, a town south of Prague where the Budejovicky Budvar brewery was built in 1895.

But Budweiser Bier has been produced in Czech lands since the 13th century, while Anheuser-Busch introduced its own Budweiser beer in 1876.

In 2000-2011, a total of 124 legal disputes and proceedings were closed worldwide with Budvar winning 88 of them, said the Czech News Agency.

Judgement of the European Court of Justice General Court in joined cases T-225/06 RENV, T-255/06 RENV, T-257/06 RENV, T-309/06 RENV - Budějovický Budvar v OHMI - Anheuser-Busch (BUD)

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