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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 16:41 GMT
Czechs win battle over 'Bud' name
Budweiser beer bottles
Loved across the US - but Czechs cherish their own version of Budweiser
The American beer giant Anheuser-Busch has lost a long-running legal battle over the use of its trademark "Bud" name in the UK.

A ruling by the House of Lords, Britain's highest court, allowed rival Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar to continue to use the trademark "Bud" name.

The UK is the only country where both Anheuser-Busch and Budvar can sell their beer products using the Budweiser brand.

The ruling on Monday halted a last attempt by the American brewer to stop state-owned Budvar's ownership of "Bud" in Britain.

The UK is Anheuser-Busch's second largest market.

Bud battle

The court case somewhat resembled a David and Goliath-style battle.

On the one side Anheuser-Bush, the world's biggest brewer.

And on the other side a much smaller rival from Eastern Europe.

The Lords gave no reason for their ruling, which prevents further action by Anheuser-Busch in British courts.

The American drinks giant had successfully prevented Budvar, which exports a large part of its production, from using or registering the name Budweiser in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and Spain.

A town called Budweis

Budvar is located in the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice, which throughout history has also been known by its German name Budweis.

For centuries the town has been famous for its beer and Ceske Budejovice's brewers insist they are the original place of brewing for Budweiser.

Anheuser-Busch traces its history to German emigrants, and has been brewing a "Budweiser" beer since 1876.

The Czech Budvar brewery says that "Budweiser" beer from Ceske Budejovice was exported to the United States as early as 1872.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Ceske Budejovice brewers have fought with Anheuser-Busch over the use of the name Budweiser, and deals struck both in 1911 and in 1939 - days before Czechoslovakia was invaded by Nazi Germany - have failed to resolve the issue.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
John Harley, Chief Executive of Budvar
"It confirms that we can use the Bud trademark pure and simple"
See also:

11 Feb 03 | Business
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30 May 02 | Business
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