Anheuser-Busch has won the latest round in its 80-year legal struggle with Czech brewers Budejovicky Budvar, to register the trademark Bud beer throughout Europe.
The decision followed a ruling on Monday by the board of appeal for the European Union’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. It is likely that the Czech company will appeal.
The two companies have been locked in bitter legal disputes around the world for decades. Both are claiming the right to the brand name Budweiser. In some countries, both are also claiming the brand name Bud.
The name Budweiser comes from the Czech town of Budejovicky, called Budweis by its German inhabitants, hence Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch launched its Budweiser brand in 1876, while the Czech brewery was only founded in 1895, although it claims precedence because of its home town’s brewing history.
In the early 20th century, the two companies began to come into conflict as they expanded internationally.
There are now active court cases in numerous countries around the world. In some places, Anheuser-Busch has gained the upper hand, while in others, the Czechs are the winners.
Anheuser-Busch was at one point negotiating to buy Budejovicky Budvar, which might have settled the matter, but the proposal met with such vehement opposition in the Czech Republic that the plans were shelved.
Recently, the disputes with Budejovicky Budvar and also with German brewer Bitburger have caused major headaches for Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the this year’s football World Cup in Germany.