ITALY: Court sides with AB in Budweiser row
An Italian court has ruled in Anheuser-Busch's favour, ordering the cancellation of three registered trademarks in Italy held by Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar. The ruling ordered the cancellation of two Budweiser Budbrau trademarks and one Budweiser Budvar trademark.
While subject to appeal, the Court's decision is effective immediately.
This judgment is consistent with the Italian Supreme Court's ruling in September 2002 ordering Budejovicky Budvar to stop use of "Budweiser" and "Bud" as trademarks for its beer.
"This is another noteworthy decision in favour of Anheuser-Busch and one that could continue setting a strong precedent for other cases throughout Europe," said Steve Burrows, chief executive officer and president, Anheuser-Busch International, Inc.
"By rejecting another set of Budejovicky Budvar's trademarks, the Court of Rome has solidified our exclusive use of 'Bud' and 'Budweiser' in Italy."
The decision by the Italian court follows a ruling earlier this year when a World Trade Organisation dispute settlement panel concluded that prior trademarks generally supercede later geographic indications. That decision thereby halted Budejovicky Budvar's efforts to rely on the registration of Budejovicky Pivo to justify its use of "Budweiser" throughout the European Union.
Anheuser-Busch has national registrations for "Budweiser" or "Bud" in 20 of 25 European Union countries and sells 31% of its foreign beer volume in the European region.
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