Senior UK judge upsets AB InBev with Budweiser quality comments

By Ben BOUCKLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture Copyright: AB InBev
Picture Copyright: AB InBev

Related tags: Ab inbev, Appeal, United states

A senior UK judge upset AB InBev by making ‘unfortunate’ comments on the quality of Budweiser during an initial hearing relating to the firm’s trademark dispute with Budweiser Budvar, new court documents reveal.

A UK Supreme Court document alludes to comments made by UK judge (now retired) Sir Robin Jacob, where it synopsizes the court's ‘Permission to Appeal’ results for January and February 2013.

This briefly sets out the basis for AB InBev’s appeal against Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar(Budweiser Budvar)​, and the reasons why it was refused by three judges in the UK’s highest court.

‘Clearly light-hearted comments’

Previously, the UK Court of Appeal dismissed AB InBev’s request that smaller rival Budwar – the Czech brewer sold 1.3m hectoliters of beer globally in 2011 against AB InBev’s 399.4m hectoliters – be stripped of permission to use the Budweiser name, a decision that ended several years of litigation in the UK.

Lords Neuberger, Mance and Wilson said that allegations of unfairness in AB InBev’s Notice of Appeal included “unfortunate, though clearly light-hearted comments made by Sir Robin Jacob about the quality of beer at the initial hearing in 2009, and about the Court of Justice and the drafters of the Trade Marks Directive”.

However, the document does not reveal what Sir Robin said about Budweiser.

“The Supreme Court sees no prospect of any of them establishing a basis for setting aside the Court of Appeal’s judgment, nor do they involve matter of general public importance,” ​the document added.

Sir Robin Jacob currently lectures at University College London, having retired as a Court of Appeal judge in March 2011.

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