AB InBev acquires Czech brewery, but loses Portuguese legal battle over Budweiser brand

International

The Lisbon Appeals Court has upheld an earlier ruling preventing US brewery Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) from selling its beer in Portugal under the Budweiser name.

The court rejected AB InBev’s appeal on the grounds that AB InBev’s BUDWEISER trademarks could be mistaken for those that Czech state-owned brewery Budejovicky Budvar had already registered in Portugal.

The Czech brewery announced that the decision was final, but the court could not be reached to confirm this.

On a similar note, at the beginning of July, AB InBev acquired Czech brewery Pivovar Samson, which is based in the same Czech town as Budejovicky Budvar - namely, Ceske Budejovice. AB InBev believes that this acquisition will strengthen its position in the legal battle with Budejovicky Budvar over the Budweiser brand.

However, Budejovicky Budvar disagrees. “Pivovar Samson is neither a legal nor a historic successor to the former municipal brewery named Die Budweiser Braeuberechtigten-Buergerliches Braeuhaus Budweis, established in 1795. It does not therefore own trademarks containing the name Budweiser and it runs its business under the Samson brand only. For this reason, the change in ownership does not pose any risk to Budejovicky Budvar in the court disputes with Anheuser-Busch,” Budejovicky Budvar's representatives explained.

The Czech Industrial Property Office’s online database shows that Pivovar Samson owns approximately 30 trademarks, none of which contain the word 'Budweiser'.

Aleksandra Pavlovic, PETOŠEVIC, Skopje 

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