UK: Budejovicky Budvar gets latest nod in Budweiser trademark row

By | 3 July 2012

The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that both Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBev can hold the Budweiser trademark in the UK

The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that both Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch InBev can hold the Budweiser trademark in the UK

The Court of Appeal in the UK has sided with Budejovický Budvar in the latest round in its long-running dispute with Anheuser-Busch InBev over the Budweiser trademark.

Earlier today (3 July), the court gave its judgement “all but guaranteeing Budvar’s right to maintain its Budweiser trademark registration in the UK”, the Czech brewer said. The move allows both companies to simultaneously hold the trademark in the UK, which the Court of Appeal initially ruled in 2000.

In 2005, however, Anheuser-Busch started legal action in the UK to invalidate Budvar's co-ownership of the Budweiser name.

“Today’s judgement allows the trade mark register to reflect the reality of the situation in the market place – that both brands co-exist and have done so for many years,” said Mark Blair, partner at Marks & Clerk Solicitors, who acted for Budvar.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for A-B InBev said: “While we are disappointed with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, the decision neither impacts our Budweiser trademark rights in the UK, which remain strong and unchallenged, nor our Budweiser business, which continues to show strong development opportunities.”

A-B InBev's Budweiser grew by “over 40%” between 2009 and 2011 in the UK, the spokesperson noted.

In September last year, the European Court of Justice said that both brewers could use the trademark in the UK, as “consumers are well aware of the difference” between the companies’ beers.

Expert analysis

Beer in the United Kingdom

In 2011 beer sales remained weak due to the ongoing and growing consumer concern about government spending cuts on jobs and incomes, which continues to constrain consumer spending. Total volume sales of beer declined by 5%, a more dramatic decline compared to the previous year and slightly sharper than the review period total volume CAGR. This was due to ongoing beer tax increases in March, with beer seeing excise duty increased two percentage points above the level of inflation at 5%. This tax...

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Budvar, InBev

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UK: Budejovicky Budvar gets latest nod in Budweiser trademark row

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