Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Brewer loses appeal on Budweiser

A bottle of Bud Light
Anheuser will have to rely on trademark laws in individual states

Brewer Anheuser-Busch has lost an appeal to a European Union court to use the term Budweiser across Europe.

It is a victory for the Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar, which said it had registered the name in France, Austria and the former Czechoslovakia in 1958.

A European court backed Budvar in December last year after US-based Anheuser applied for an EU trademark.

This ruling is the latest instalment of a long-running dispute between the two brewers stretching back decades.

Six years ago, Anheuser lost a case to stop Budvar selling beer in the UK under the Budweiser name.

In the latest hearing, the European Court of First Instance upheld a 2007 decision by the EU's trademark agency, saying Budejovicky Budvar had already legally registered the name in several EU countries.

Anheuser, therefore, could not be allowed an EU-wide trademark. The brewer is still free to sell beer using the Budweiser name under trademark agreements it holds with individual countries.

Budejovicky Budvar was founded in 1895 in Ceske Budejovice, which was known as Budweis by its German-speaking inhabitants. Beer has been brewed there since 1265.

Budweiser was first produced in St Louis in 1852 and was America's first national beer brand.

Anheuser-Busch has now been renamed Anheuser-Busch-Inbev after a $52bn takeover by Belgian-Brazilian brewer Inbev.

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