Budvar Wins Another

Czech brewery wins another round in ongoing fight against ‘Bud’ name

Czech brewery Budějovický Budvar gained yet another significant victory in its worldwide branding dispute with Anheuser-Busch.

The European Court of Justice has backed an appeal filed by Budvar and annulled earlier rulings by the EU’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) on the registration of Bud as the protective trademark for beer in the EU countries.

Anheuser-Busch in 1996 and 2000 applied for the EU registration of a number of its products bearing the trademark Bud, including beer. Budvar challenged the request, arguing that Bud was already recognised as a protected indication of geographical origin for beer coming from České Budějovice (Budweis in German) by Austria and France.

But OHIM turned down Budvar’s complaint, ruling that Bud cannot be considered a designation of origin since the Czech brewer failed to prove that it really uses the Bud designation in trade. “European consumers cannot recognise Bud as an abbreviated name of the Czech city České Budějovice, which is called Budweis in German,” said OHIM.