According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (my old hometown paper), Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has reason to celebrate — it just won a small victory against that tiny little Czech brewery that could: Budvar.
A few months back I wrote about the never-ending feud between A-B and Budvar.
I’m no trademark lawyer and I know even less about EU trademark law but it seems that Budvar was trying to use some EU regulation to sidestep A-B’s trademark protections in the EU. The EU stepped in and sided with A-B. But that’s not the end of it by any stretch.
Here are some great excerpts that illustrate just how bitter this conflict is:
Anheuser-Busch is fighting Budvar over the Budweiser trademark in more than 40 nations.
A-B’s most recent win was in Austria, where a court ruled late last year that the St. Louis brewer could use Bud. The decision is under appeal. The company, which markets Budweiser under the name Anheuser-Busch B in that country, had been blocked from using Budweiser and Bud.
A-B started using the Budweiser name in 1876, which was 19 years before the Czech brewery opened. But the Czechs say that Budweiser refers to Budweis, the original German 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 making Budweiser. In the United States, Budvar must sell its beer under the brand name Czechvar.
Personally, I think these trademark battles should be settled not in court but by a taste test. And, in the interest of furthering corporate peace, I’ll be happy to volunteer a few hours or my time to assist.