Budvar bags Bulgaria win in ‘Bud’ battle

Sofia court rules in favor of Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar against US rival Anheuser-Busch over use of ‘Bud’ trademark in Bulgaria

Staff Writer 4.8.2011

Some 40,000 visitors tried Budvar at Shanghai’s Expo 2010 foto: Česká pozice

Some 40,000 visitors tried Budvar at Shanghai’s Expo 2010

State-owned Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar has prevailed in court against US rival Anheuser-Busch in dispute over the use of the trademark “Bud” in Bulgaria. Anheuser-Busch, which completed its merger with Brazilian-Belgian firm InBev in July 2008, has had a long-running dispute with Budějovický Budvar over the “Budweiser,”“Bud”and “Budvar” names.

Budějovický Budvar said in a press release Thursday that the Sofia Municipal Court had rejected a legal challenge by Anheuser-Busch that wanted it to cancel the right of Budvar to use “Bud” as a protected geographic indication of origin. The US brewer has since withdrawn its appeal over a court ruling that ordered the cancellation of two registered trademarks held by Anheuser-Busch, “Bud” and “American Bud,” it said.

However, the Czech company said it is seeking the cancellation of other Anheuser-Busch’s trademarks in Bulgaria, such as “Anheuser-Busch Bud.”

Based in České Budějovice, the Czech brewer links its rights to the name to Budweis being the German name for the South Bohemian City. Part of Anheuser-Busch’s claim is based on that it has used the name longer. According to AB, brewery founder Adolphus Busch started using the name in 1876; Budějovický Budvar wasn’t established until 1895.

Budějovický Budvar remains a state-owned company. In 2007, then-Minister of Agriculture Petr Gandalovič (Civic Democrats, ODS) said the company would finally be privatized, but to date no further action has been taken.