AB appeal nipped in the Bud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Budejovicky budvar, Anheuser-busch

Britain's highest court has ruled out the possibility of any
further legal action against Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar by
arch rival Anheuser-Busch.

The UK's highest court, the House of Lords, ruled yesterday that Czech beer company Budejovicky Budvar has the right to use the trademark 'Bud' in the British market, rejecting an appeal from US-based Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser.

The Czech company has been in a long running battle with the world's biggest brewer for many years, and while it has been successful in many countries, AB has also had its fair share of victories.

But the UK is one of the rare markets where both beers can be sold under the Budweiser name - or Budweiser Budvar in the case of the Czech group - and this has clearly been a source of irritation to Anheuser-Busch.

The appeal to the House of Lords was the US company's last chance to stop its arch rival from having the right to sell its own beer as 'Bud' - a diminutive which Anheuser-Busch uses far more frequently.

In fact, the use of the term was the basis of AB's appeal, since it argued that previous rulings allowing both companies to use the name should be overturned because the Czech group had not exercised its right to the Bud name.

The law lords disagreed, however, although they gave no reason for their decision to prevent the American company from taking any further legal action against its European rival.

State-owned Budejovicky Budvar has recently lost a number of cases against AB, most notably in Hungary, Italy and New Zealand, where an initial ruling in favour of the Czech firm was overturned in favour of AB. But the importance of the UK market - the second largest in the world for Anheuser-Busch - will make this victory so much sweeter.

Budvar claims its sole right to the Budweiser name because it is the only brewer to make its beer in the town of Ceske Budejovice - or Budweis as it is called in German. In the US, the European brand is sold as Czechvar.

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