A-B Wins Right to Budweiser Name in Japan

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. said it has won exclusive rights to the Budweiser trademark in Japan. The company had begun court proceedings against Budejovicky Budvar and some of its importers and distributors who were distributing beer using the Budweiser name. A-B said it believed the packaging and labeling on Budvar’s products infringed on its trademarks and created unfair competition.

The Tokyo District Court’s ruling upheld A-B’s rights to use the Budweiser trademark, and stopped two distributors from using the name. However, the Tokyo High Court allowed Budvar to continue using Budejovicky Budvar as a trademark and Budweiser Budvar as an alleged trade name. A-B has said it has used the Budweiser trademark since 1876, 19 years before Budejovicky Budvar was established. Anheuser-Busch has won exclusive rights to the Bud name in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy and New Zealand. However, last year it lost a bid to block Budejovicky Budvar from using the name in Britain. A-B said it believes those actions violate its rights, and is considering its legal options.