Budejovicky Budvar has claimed victory in the latest twist in its long-running trademark battle with Anheuser-Busch.

The Czech brewer is today (20 April) celebrating a ruling from the European Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market, which states that Budvar has "proven rights … to the international trademark 'Budweiser'" throughout Europe .

The office handed down the decision following A-B's appeal of an earlier decision, again in Budvar's favour, in 2005. Budvar said yesterday that, while the decision is final, A-B can still challenge it with a lawsuit against the trademarks authority at the EU's Court of First Instance.

Last month, A-B came out on top in the trademark fight, being waged between the two brewers in law courts around the world, when an appeals court in Italy ruled in its favour by ordering the cancellation of three registered trademarks held by Budvar.

No-one was available for further comment at Budvar.

"The decision by the Appeal Board of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market of the European Union has no effect on Anheuser-Busch's business in Europe," countered Thomas Santel, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch International. "The application and registration would extend our already extensive Budweiser rights to the entire European Union. This decision does not affect the trademark protection Anheuser-Busch enjoys for Budweiser or Bud in 21 of the 27 European Union member states."

The US brewer said it plans to appeal the decision.