Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBev at loggerheads in the UK

Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBev at loggerheads in the UK

Anheuser-Busch InBev looks set to lose its latest attempt to claim sole rights over the Budweiser trademark in the UK, after a senior European judge sided with the group's long-standing foe, Budejovicky Budvar.

An advocate general of the European Court of Justice said yesterday (3 February) that UK law should apply in judging who has the rights to Budweiser in the country.

Opinions by advocates general are not binding on ECJ judges, but they are followed in most rulings. If that happens in this case, Anheuser-Busch InBev is likely to fail in its latest attempt to annul the 'Budweiser' trademark of Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar in the UK.

Both brewers were given permission to register 'Budweiser' as a trademark in the UK in 2000, following more than 20 years of wrangling over the name in the country's courts. The UK said that both trademarks could coexist.

However, five years ago, A-B InBev commenced fresh legal action against its Czech rival, arguing that it was the first to file to register Budweiser in the UK back in the 1970s. The UK subsequently asked the ECJ for guidance on how to apply the law.

Last year, the ECJ ruled that A-B InBev could not register the name Budweiser as a trademark across the EU.