HUNGARY: A-B claims victory in Bud battle
Anheuser-Busch has claimed victory in another battle over the Budweiser trademark, this time in Hungary.
The US brewing giant today (24 May) said that a Hungarian court had cancelled the rights of Czech rival Budejovicky Budvar to the names 'Bud', 'Budweiser Budvar' and 'Budweiser Bier-Budvar'.
A-B said that the court had ruled that the term 'Bud' could not be protected as an appellation of origin or as a geographical name in reference to Budvar's base, the Czech town of Ceské Budejovice.
"This is the third Hungarian court to conclude that 'Bud' does not qualify for appellation of origin protection," said Steve Burrows, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch International. "This decision provides us with the legal backing to launch our flagship brand under the 'Bud' name in Hungary and reinforces our commitment to protect our famous trademarks throughout the world."
The ruling in Hungary follows a similar decision from a court in Austria, which also ruled that 'Bud' was not a geographical indication in the Czech Republic with regard to beer.
Bud had been protected as a geographical indication in Austria under a bilateral treaty between the country and the Czech Republic. A-B is fighting two cases in Austria over the Bud name - one against it and one filed by Budvar against A-B's local distributor - but the US brewer was confident it could win both. "We are one giant step closer to winning the same legal battle in Austria," Burrows said.
A-B has the rights to the 'Bud' and 'Budweiser' names in 21 of the 25 countries in the EU, with last week's ruling in Sweden confirming its rights to the trademark in the Scandinavian country.
However, in Spain, the country's Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court ruling allowing Budvar to register the trademark Budejovicky Budvar. A-B however said that the Czech brewer remained under a court order not to sell Budweiser in Spain.
"This decision in Spain has no impact on our business and does not weaken our very strong and exclusive 'Budweiser' and 'Bud' trademark rights in this country," Burrows added.
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