After winning an historic court battle against US beer giant Anheuser-Busch (A-B) over the Budweiser and Bud names in the UK, Budweiser Budvar plans to launch a super premium high-strength beer called Bud Super Strong, in the New Year.
Bud Super Strong is a high-strength super premium lager already sold on the Continent. It will have limited distribution in bars, and will be primarily a seasonal beer to be sold during the winter.
The Court of Appeal last week dismissed a challenge by A-B to the Czech brewery’s right to the names Bud and Budweiser Budbrau. Both companies will have the right to continue using the names. The Czechs won a similar court case over Budweiser four years ago.
The ruling has made legal history. John Slater, managing partner of trademark attorneys Marks & Clerk, represented the Czech brewers. He says: “I can’t think of any other situation where two rival companies have been granted the right to use the same trademarks for directly competing products.”
A-B and Budweiser Budvar are involved in more than 40 court cases around the world.
A-B argues that it first used Budweiser as a trademark in 1876, 20 years before the Czech brewery was formed. The Czech brewery, which was set up in 1895, argues that the term “Budweiser beer” was first used in 1260 and refers to a style of beer from a particular geographic area.