Anheuser-Busch cannot use the Budweiser name in Portugal, the highest chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

The US brewer yesterday (11 January) lost an appeal against a Portuguese ruling from 2001 that gave full rights to the Budweiser name to Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar.

A-B launched its appeal last year after a lower chamber of the European Court of Human Rights dismissed the brewer's complaint that the Portuguese ruling violated its rights to the "peaceful enjoyment" of the trademark.

However, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights yesterday dismissed that appeal.

Steve Burrows, the president and CEO of A-B's international operations, said: "We are disappointed the ruling does not open the door for Anheuser-Busch to establish its Budweiser trademark in Portugal. This judgment has no effect on Anheuser-Busch's business in Portugal as our trademark for Bud remains valid and unchallenged."

A spokesman for Budvar told just-drinks that the decision was "very good news" for the Czech brewer.

A-B's defeat re-ignites the battle between the two brewers over the Budweiser name.

On Monday (8 January), the companies signalled a thaw in their relationship with an agreement covering the US market. A-B will import and sell Budvar's Czechvar brand in the US. The Czech brewer cannot use the Budweiser name in the US market.