EU court rules Anheuser-Busch cannot register Budweiser
The ruling deals the company a fresh setback in a long-running legal battle with Budejovicky Budvar of the Czech Republic to reserve the exclusive rights to the Budweiser brand in Europe.Luxembourg -- A top EU court ruled Wednesday that US brewer Anheuser-Busch could not register an EU-wide trademark for its Budweiser brand because of a Czech brewer's previous claims to the word in Austria and Germany.
The ruling deals Anheuser-Busch a fresh setback in a long-running legal battle with Budejovicky Budvar of the Czech Republic to reserve the exclusive rights to the Budweiser brand in Europe.
In 1996, Anheuser-Busch applied to register Budweiser for an EU-trademark but Budejovicky Budvar sought to block the application because it used the word in Austria and Germany.
The EU's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market rejected Anheuser-Busch's application and the US brewer brought an appeal before the European Court of First Instance.
However, the court upheld the trademark office's decision and dismissed Anheuser-Busch's case.
While the ruling means that Anheuser-Busch cannot get a blanket trademark for the 27-nation European Union as a whole, the brewer can have trademarks in individual EU markets.
Belgian brewer InBev paid 52 billion dollars last year to take over Anheuser-Busch with ambitions to transform the Budweiser brand into its flagship international product.