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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 16:38 GMT
Budweiser to appeal court verdict
The US Budweiser beer
The US Budweiser beer is a global bestseller
US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch has lodged an appeal against a European court ruling that prevents it using its core Budweiser brand name in Portugal.

It is appealing last year's decision by the European Court of Human Rights in favour of Anheuser-Busch's Czech rival Budejovicky Budvar.

Budejovicky Budvar also produces a beer called Budweiser, and currently has sole rights to that name in Portugal.

The two businesses are now involved in 40 global lawsuits over the name.

Czech government-owned

Anheuser-Busch first took the Portuguese dispute to the European Court of Human Rights in 2001 after Portugal's Supreme Court ruled in favour of Budejovicky Budvar.

The Czech Budweiser beer
The Czech Budweiser is still owned by the government

Yet the Strasbourg-based court also sided with Portugal's decision to back the Czech company in October last year, prompting this new appeal by Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch, the world's third largest brewer, and Budejovicky Budvar, which remains owned by the Czech government, have been at loggerheads over the Budweiser brand name for decades.

The American firm claims it has the right to the name as it first started brewing Budweiser in 1876, 19 years before Budejovicky Budvar was founded in 1895.

Yet Budejovicky Budvar counters that its Budweiser is simply named after its hometown of Ceske Budejovice, which is called Budweis in German.

Beer has been brewed in the Czech town since 1265.

Alternative names

In a number of European countries, Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser can only be called "Bud", while in the US, Budejovicky Budvar's Budweiser is called Czechvar.

The UK is one of very few nations that allows both firms to use the Budweiser brand name.

The dispute over the right to use the name in Portugal now goes to the highest chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the so-called Grand Chamber.

No date has yet been given for the start of proceedings.

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