Budweiser Legal Dispute

However, the influence that the western half of today`s Czech Republic, Bohemia, has on American and global beer culture is undisputed. In addition to the connections with the city of České Budějovice, the Budweiser brand born in the United States claims to be of the Pilsner variety, which has its origins in the Czech city of Pilsen. Another Anheuser-Busch InBev brand, Michelob, also takes its name from the German-language name of a Czech town now called Mecholupy. Ultimately, the dispute offers Budvar first and foremost protection against AB InBev`s competition. Against such a great rival, Bocek said, it`s important that Budvar uses every possible legal lever. “We have the right to exist,” he said. The dispute had even reached Hong Kong when Anheuser-Bush sued the Budvar brewery for trying to remove Budejovicky Budvar beer brewed in the Czech Republic from the shelves of Hong Kong stores. The U.S. brewery claimed that Budvar had infringed its copyrights.

The final decisions have not yet been taken. Barriers to doing business in many of these markets are decreasing. The interesting, albeit complicated, subtexts of the dispute are the continuation of negotiations between the United States and the European Union on a free trade agreement. Competing brands are at issue, as is a philosophical divide concerning the so-called protected geographical indicators (PGI or geographical indications), a phenomenon designed to ensure that certain products, for example champagne, come only from a certain region. However, the broader dispute between companies over the Budweiser name is one of the oldest trade disputes in history and has been going on for more than 100 years. Budvar has some influence on the litigation, as AB InBev could miss a larger portion of sales until a deal is reached, as its operations are much larger. It brewed 349.8 million hectoliters last year compared to 1.32 million hectoliters for Budvar. This equates to 73.9 billion pints versus 279 million pints. A year later, a man named Adolphus Busch – the co-founder of Budweiser`s American owner, Anheuser-Busch (AB), visited Bohemia and was fascinated by beer and its brewing process. So he took the name and the process and started brewing his own beer in the United States, simply called Budweiser. Busch even admitted his intention to copy the original beer in a New York District Court in 1896 (after AB registered the Budweiser trademark and was later legally challenged by Bohemian brewers).

“The idea was simply to brew a beer of quality, color, taste and taste similar to the beer produced in České Budějovice at the time,” he testified in court. As a result of the events described above, a number of lawsuits have been filed by Anheuser-Bush to restrict or prohibit the sale of Budvar. Later, Budejovicky Budvar also participated in the litigation, and some type of lawsuit was brought by one party or another in several different countries. Although Anheuser-Busch still holds undisputed rights to the Budweiser name in most parts of the world, including North and South America and virtually all of Asia.7, some of the decisions made in favor of the Czech brewery have been upheld. Here are some examples to illustrate: Beer from the Czech Republic is respected and admired around the world, earning it the informal title of “Best Beer in the World” (although Germany and Belgium may deny it). American beer, on the other hand, is widely regarded as “defined by its dullness,” as The Atlantic once put it. There seem to be a handful of reasons for this. First, that the ingredients of light beers (corn, wheat and molasses) were cheaper than those of making dark beers (malted barley). Workers also preferred light beers because they wanted to drink beer for lunch but couldn`t get drunk at work — and as Ranjit Dighe, an economics professor, told The Atlantic, “the sweeter the taste, the more natural the beer would be.” The Budweiser trademark dispute is a series of ongoing legal disputes between two brewing companies (from the Czech Republic and the United States) that claim trademark rights and geographical origin rights to the name “Budweiser”. The conflict has been going on since 1907 and includes more than 100 court cases worldwide. As a result, Budweiser Budvar holds the rights to the Budweiser name in most parts of Europe and Anheuser-Busch InBev has this right in North America.

Therefore, AB InBev uses the name “Bud” in most parts of Europe and Budvar sells its beer in North America under the name “Czechvar”. In other jurisdictions, either or even both may use the name, depending on local trademark law. The Swiss Federal Court has ruled in a dispute over the names Budweiser and Bud against the brewing of American beer “Bud”. American beer should not be sold as a “bud” in Switzerland, as there is a risk of confusion with the name “Budweiser”, used by the Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar. Anheuser-Busch will sell its product under a different name.7 Both the U.S. and Czech brewing companies claim to be entitled to the Budweiser name. Currently, there are two different brands of beer, both called Budweiser and brewed by different producers, and such a situation is an obvious source of disagreement. Initially, the rationale for the dispute was that two beer drinks of a similar nature with the same name would be a source of confusion in the markets that both breweries wanted to target, and that only one should therefore have the right to use them. Later, of course, each of them who believed in the authenticity and better quality of their own product expressed the “fear” that one party would exploit the prestige of others. As none of them succeeded in obtaining the exclusive right to use the name in general, corresponding lawsuits were brought in the respective countries whose markets were of interest to breweries.

Judgments differed and each of the parties could only acquire trademark rights in certain cases, so the dispute did not confer exclusive rights on them, but led to the division of the market. But if it`s so clear, how is there a debate about who deserves the name? Well, because AB first successfully registered Budweiser as a trademark, which meant that Bohemians were forced to allow the name in all regions north of Panama. In 1939, the two breweries agreed that AB could only market its beer in North America under the name Budweiser, while the Bohemian breweries had the rights to the name in Europe. This question concerns the Czech Republic and the United States of America. Over the past hundred years, an international legal dispute has dragged on between the American brewery Anheuser-Busch and the Czech beer manufacturer Budejovicky Budvar over the right to use the Budweiser trademark on their products. Currently, both breweries produce beer drinks called Budweiser and are arguing over who has the legal right to commercially use that name. Both beers have a long history of existence. Disagreements over the right to use the trademark began in the late 1870s, when brewers began exporting their eponymous products to markets outside their national borders. In order to legally obtain the exclusive right to use the trademark, the dispute was brought before the courts of various countries. Until now, the results did not grant either party the exclusive right to the name, but led to a division of the market.

Since then, however, breweries have continued to struggle, largely because AB (now known as AB InBev) continues to push for European brand Budweiser – a move that the Czech company says could potentially wipe out its brand. To give you an overview of the differences in the size of companies: Budweiser Budvar – which has remained state-owned even since the fall of communism – has only 653 employees (in 2015), while AB InBev has nearly 200,000 (in 2019). According to USA Today, the dispute included 61 lawsuits in 11 countries in 2013. In 2014, AB even acquired Samson, the parent company of Budweiser Bürgerbräu (remember the second Bohemian brewery that still brews today in České Budějovice), to back up its claim to the Budweiser name. Both beers have their own international reputation, and so it`s unlikely that one of the “buds” will give up (especially if you add the international attention this dispute has gained for both companies). The history of brewing in Ceske Budejovice dates back to 1265, Anheuser-Busch registered its trademark in 1876, after the Budweiser was brewed there, but before the foundation of the special Budvar brewery. However, Budvar insists that the original Budweiser remains the place of its (geographical) origin in reference to the beer brewed in České Budějovice (in German for Ceske Budejovice). From a legal point of view, therefore, this dispute concerns not only intellectual property, but also issues of rules of origin and labelling. “The dispute has not hindered our global expansion,” said Couck, the spokeswoman. Individual decisions were taken on a case-by-case basis, and dispute settlement led to market sharing. (See DESCRIPTION) Germany is one of the most important and important economic partners for the Czechs.