Bloomberg News

AB InBev Wins Back ‘Bud’ Name in Austria After Court Decision

October 26, 2011

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV won back the rights to use the name “Bud” on beer in Austria after a local court lifted an injunction that had given Budejovicky Budvar NP the sole entitlement to the name in the country.

A Viennese commercial court in a decision signed Oct. 19 decided to lift the injunction that prevented Anheuser-Busch from selling beer under the name American Bud in Austria since 1999. Austria’s Supreme Court already ruled against Budvar in August.

“Not only do these positive rulings set a favorable precedent, they also open up the Austrian market to AB InBev’s use of the Bud trademark in Austria,” Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev said in an e-mailed statement.

The case is part of a century-old dispute between Budvar and AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer. The clash over the Austrian rights made it twice to the EU court. The protections at issue, so-called geographical indications, have been the subject of trademark cases around the world involving French champagnes, Italian cheeses and other products.

The Austrian rulings follow a 2009 decision by the European Union’s highest court that clarified the conditions under which Budvar’s right in the country could be maintained.

Petr Samec, a spokesman for Budvar, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Budvar claims it owns the rights to “Bud” because its beer comes from Ceske Budejovice, or Budweis in German. The brewer argued that Bud has been a national geographical indication since 1975 in the Czech Republic and this protection was extended by a bilateral agreement to Austria in 1976.

--Editors: Peter Chapman, Christopher Scinta

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Brussels at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Scinta at cscinta@bloomberg.net


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