The famous Czech beer trade mark "Budweiser" definitely stays home

11 October 2010

Andrea Jarolimkova, Miloslav Šinfeld

The famous beer trade mark "Budweiser" can now be used in the EU only by the Czech brewery Budějovický Budvar. After more than ten years the European Court of Justice issued a final decision in July 2010 on the dispute between Budějovický Budvar and the American brewery Anheuser-Busch.

In brief, the American brewery applied to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) for registration of the word sign "Budweiser" as a Community trade mark for beer, ale, porter, and malted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Budějovický Budvar opposed this registration as it relied on its earlier international trade marks and appellations of origin including the word "Budweiser" registered for "beer of any kind" and protected especially in Germany and Austria. OHIM found that the goods indicated in the American brewery's application were essentially identical with those covered by the earlier trade mark. This similarity could confuse European consumers. Therefore OHIM upheld Budějovický Budvar's opposition and rejected Anheuser-Busch's application for a Community trade mark. Although the American brewery appealed and used all available remedies, the European Court of Justice confirmed that the trade mark "Budweiser" can only be used by Budějovický Budvar.