Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar has retained the Budweiser trademark in Hungary despite losing its claim to the term 'Bud' as an appellation of origin.

A Hungarian court late last week cancelled Budvar's claims to 'Bud', 'Budweiser Budvar' and 'Budweiser Bier-Budvar' as a geographical name in reference to Budvar's base, the Czech town of Ceské Budejovice.

The ruling is the latest in the long-running battle over the Budweiser name between Budvar and US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. Budvar said it remained the exclusive holder of the Budweiser trademark in Hungary, one of the brewer's top 10 export markets.

"Budweiser Budvar will continue to be the exclusive owner of Budweiser and Budweiser Budvar trademarks as well as the appellations of origin 'Budejovické pivo' and 'Ceskobudejovické pivo'," a spokesman told just-drinks on Friday (26 May).

"It thus has the exclusive right to use Budweiser trademark for its beer and Anheuser-Busch is only allowed to use the indication 'Bud' for its beer on the Hungarian market."

Nevertheless, A-B said the ruling would pave the way for it to sell its Budweiser brand under the 'Bud' name, four years after it stopped selling American Bud in Hungary.
"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." He added that A-B planned to sell 'Bud' in Hungary "in the very near future".

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.