Budejovicky Budvars Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBevs Budweiser should co-exist in the UK, the ECJ has ruled

Budejovicky Budvar's Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser should co-exist in the UK, the ECJ has ruled

European Union (EU) judges have declared that both Anheuser-Busch InBev and Budejovický Budvar can use the trademark Budweiser in the UK, as “consumers are well aware of the difference” between the companies’ beers.

Opposing a bid by A-B InBev to cancel Budvar’s UK registration of the mark in 2000, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said today (22 September) that A-B InBev had the right to apply for cancellation of Budvar's registration in 1989, because A-B InBev had registered its mark in the country in 1976.

However, the ECJ added that A-B InBev's application should only succeed if the later mark has had “an adverse effect on … the earlier trade mark” through consumer confusion. Even though the trade marks are identical, “the beers of Anheuser-Busch and Budvar are clearly identifiable, since their tastes, prices and get-ups have always been different”, said judges.