GERMANY: Court rules on Budweiser pan-European ads
The decision made this week by a Cologne trial court means that Anheuser will no longer have to block its Budweiser advertisements from spilling over into Germany, after it protected Anheuser's right to promote its Budweiser beer with advertising on global television networks and through the internet at its website.
In a statement issued to just-drinks.com, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch, Stephen Burrows said: "Advertising on pan-European channels like Eurosport, CNN and MTV is an excellent way to reach beer drinkers in the 14 European countries where we sell and advertise our Budweiser brand. If there was a way to block the signal and keep our ads from occasionally spilling over into Germany, we would do so."
The court also upheld Anheuser's rights to advertise its Budweiser brand on the internet, acknowledging that there is no way for the brewer to block its website from German consumers.
Commenting on the verdict Burrows continued: "This is a very important decision and it protects our right to market our Budweiser brand through pan-European television and the Internet."
This latest ruling comes just a week after Anheuser was told, in a separate case, that it must wait for a German court of appeal decision before it can embark on introducing its beer brands fully in Germany. The producer of the German beer brand Bitburger or "Bit" opposed 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.
Burrows said: "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. We are optimistic that the court will eventually clear the way for Anheuser-Busch Bud."
Anheuser, which is already embroiled in a European-wide conflict with Budvar over the trademark "Budweiser" has also appealed to a New Zealand High Court to prevent the Czech brewer from using the name "Budweiser" in New Zealand. It was reported by the National News that the brewing giant had even hired private investigators to scout New Zealand stores for supplies of its rival's product.
Last year a UK court of appeal ruled that both Anheuser-Busch and Budvar could use the Budweiser and Bud brand names in the UK. And more recently courts in Italy and Spain ruled that the Czech brewer must cease use of both brand names on all labels, packaging and advertising in those countries.
The brewing giant has also been successful in cancelling the Budvar's appellation of origin registrations for 'Bud' in Russia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.
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