GERMANY: Budweiser suffers further setback in fight for trademark
Bitburger, owners of the German brand 'Bit', is opposing the registration of the brand names "Anheuser-Busch Bud" and "American Bud" in Germany, claiming they would amount to an infringement of its earlier trademark rights.
But while the Supreme Court lifted the decision of the Hamburg Court of Appeals and found that there is no likelihood of confusion between "Anheuser-Busch Bud" and "Bit", The Court Of Appeals may still rule that the trademark might "dilute" the value of the trademark "Bit".
In a statement released to just-drinks.com, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch Stephen Burrows said: "We are pleased that the court lifted the decision of the Hamburg Court and we are optimistic that the court will eventually clear the way for 'Anheuser-Busch Bud'.
"We continue to believe both names in the case would not lead to confusion with 'Bit'. But in the meantime we will continue to sell our beer under the "Anheuser-Busch B" name in Germany."
Meanwhile legal actions are pending in several countries between Anheuser-Busch and the Budejovicky Budvar brewery based in former Budweis. And, Anheuser-Busch has already been banned by German courts from using its Budweiser name.
Yesterday, Dow Jones reported that Anheuser-Busch appealed to New Zealand's High Court to prevent Budejovicky Budvar from using the name Budweiser in New Zealand. It claims that it has the sole right to the trade name in New Zealand and the Czech brewer is breaching New Zealand law by importing its own Budweiser brand.
The report said that despite an agreement by the Czech brewery that Anheuser-Busch has the right to use the Budweiser trademark in New Zealand, bottles of the Czech beer have appeared in the country with the name on the label.
Last year a UK court of appeal ruled that both companies could use the Budweiser and Bud brand names in the UK.
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