Anheuser-Busch has lost another legal dispute over the use of the trademark 'Budweiser' after a New Zealand court ruled in favour of its rival Budejovicky Budvar, after AB charged the Czech brewery of violating the rules of fair trade.

Anheuser is embroiled in a European wide conflict with Budvar over the use of the trademark name "Budweiser" and will see this latest decision as a major setback after reports that claimed the brewing giant had even hired private investigators to scout New Zealand stores for supplies of its rival's products.

Stephen Burrows, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch International said of the latest ruling: "We disagree with the court's ruling and continue to believe that Budvar's use of "Budejovicky Budvar" and "Budweiser Budvar" on its beer creates confusion among New Zealand customers.

"In New Zealand, Anheuser-Busch has sold 'Budweiser' beer at least since the early 1980's and holds a 1984 trademark registration for the brand. In addition, our company holds the trademark there for 'Bud.'

"We continue to believe that Budvar's actions violate our rights and we are considering our legal options at this time," he continued.

Budvar has registered over 360 trademarks in 100 countries and is involved in 40 legal proceedings and over 40 administrative proceedings with Anheuser-Busch. Budvar recently lost a round in Portugal but has won cases in the UK, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Greece, Finland and the Baltic States.