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The Battle For Budweiser

The Battle for Budweiser



16 October 20172 min read

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The Battle for Budweiser

The Origins of Budweiser 

In 1795, German settlers established Budweiser Bürgerbräu in České Budějovice (Budweis), Czech Republic. The brewery's success led to exports across Europe and the United States. By the 1870s, Budweiser Bürgerbräu had registered trademarks including Budweiser Export-Lager-Bier. 

Meanwhile, in 1852, the foundation for what would become Anheuser-Busch began in Saint Louis, Missouri, inspired by České Budějovice's beer. Anheuser-Busch registered the Budweiser mark in the U.S. in 1878.

Rising Controversy Between Breweries 

The trademark dispute began as Budweiser Bürgerbräu, Anheuser-Busch, and the newly established Budějovický Budvar in 1895 started exporting their respective Budweiser beers. The Czech breweries claimed the name derived from České Budějovice and was misappropriated by Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch countered, citing its earlier use of the name.

Early Agreements and Ongoing Disputes 

Initial agreements in 1911 and 1939 allowed Anheuser-Busch to use the Budweiser name in non-European markets and in America, respectively. 

However, ambiguities in these agreements left many issues unresolved. The dispute intensified with Anheuser-Busch's attempts to register the Bud and Budweiser trademarks in the European Union, leading to a series of legal challenges and rulings.

Post-Communism and Trademark Battles 

Following the fall of communism, Budweiser Bürgerbräu restored its rights to various trademarks. Anheuser-Busch acquired these trademark rights in 2011.

Despite this, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the EU Court of First Instance have been involved in several decisions and reversals regarding the Bud and Budweiser trademarks, reflecting the complexity of the dispute.

Bitburger’s Opposition and the Current State of Affairs 

The German brewery Bitburger also entered the fray, opposing the Bud mark for its similarity to its brand. However, the EU Court found sufficient differences to dismiss this objection. The legal battles over Budweiser continue globally, with the trademark owned by different entities in various countries.

Conclusion: The Importance of Swift Trademark Registration 

The Budweiser case exemplifies the complexities of international trademark protection and the importance of promptly registering trademarks in multiple jurisdictions. This ongoing dispute highlights the potential for significant losses and the challenges faced in an interconnected global market.

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