The Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar has claimed a victory in Japan over US beer giant Anheuser-Busch Co in their ongoing trademark battle.

Japan's highest court last week upheld the Czech company's rights for the Budejovicky Budvar trade name, Budvar said. The ruling confirmed a previous decision of the Japanese high court in 2003.

However, in a statement, Anheuser-Busch president and CEO Stephen Burrows said that Anheuser-Busch still had the exclusive rights to the Budweiser trademark in Japan, and these rights remain unchallenged.

He said: "Anheuser-Busch has held the exclusive rights to the Budweiser mark in Japan since it registered the trademark there in 1951. The Japanese Courts have recognised that our Budweiser trademark is, and has been for years, a well-known and famous trademark. The decision by the Supreme Court of Japan has no effect on Anheuser-Busch's ability to continue selling Budweiser in Japan."

Burrows went on to explain that Budvar uses the trademark "Budejovicky Budvar" in Japan.

"To the average consumer this is the brand name they see on packaging in bars and restaurants. The Supreme Court's decision allows them to continue using this trademark along with the alleged trade name, "Budweiser Budvar, N.C.," in relatively small type at the bottom of their label. Budejovicky Budvar uses "Budweiser Budvar, N.C." in a fashion similar to the way we use our company name, "Anheuser-Busch," in small type on the bottom of our label," he said.