The European Union has rejected claims by Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar that the term "Bud" is a protected appellation of origin.

The appeals board for the EU's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market said today (26 June) dismissed Budvar's application and ruled that US rival Anheuser-Busch could register the Bud trademark.

The board said: "It is difficult to imagine that beer drinkers in France, Italy, Portugal, Austria or the Czech Republic could think of Bud as an appellation of origin, i.e. as an indication that the beer was brewed in a specific geographic location." The board added that Bud was "not, in fact, an appellation of origin at all".

The ruling cheered A-B, which called the decision "one of the clearest and most forceful statements by a European tribunal". It comes just weeks after courts in Austria and Hungary had ruled that Bud was not an appellation of origin.

Steve Burrows, the head of A-B's international arm, said: "Bud is not and never has been a city in the Czech Republic. We are very pleased the Board of Appeal recognises the weakness in the appellation of origin claim and rejects the Czech brewer's argument in its entirety."

Budvar, however, can appeal against the decision. Officials at the Czech brewer could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.