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April 20, 2007

This Trademark Dispute's For You: Bud Vs. Budvar

Jack Trout, in a article yesterday, wrote that the fundamentals of branding boil down to hitting on the right brand name and establishing how your brand is different from others in the marketplace. Trout says, "There is a hard part about branding. It's called staying focused."

Although very true, that priority can prove difficult when your brand name is embroiled in trademark conflicts.

budweiser_logo.gifYesterday’s news that a European trademarks authority rejected a request by Anheuser-Busch Cos to register the Budweiser brand name across Europe is a victory for Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar NP in its 100+ year battle with the U.S. beer giant.

The Prague Daily Monitor was very pleased with the ruling, which was a response to a 1999 application on the part of A-B. The Monitor notes that Budvar already has the trademark registered in Germany, Austria and Portugal, while A-B has had the trademark in Denmark since 1948.

There are now 17 trademark disputes to be sorted out between the two companies—in the past six years they have faced off 86 times over brand name trademarks, the score is now 69 Budvar vs. 12 A-B with 5 “ties.”

budweiser_budvar.gifThis dispute resumes the feud between the two legendary companies that seemed to have found a peaceful resolution with Bud’s permission earlier this year for Budvar to import (via A-B) its Budejovicky Budvar beer into the U.S. under the name “Czechvar,” signifying what some beer industry watchers felt was a “kinder, gentler A-B.”

The Brookston Beer Bulletin even published an article that read “Bud & Bud: Now They’re Buds? It describes the battle between the two brewers that really goes back deep into the nineteenth century and beyond. The history of the Budweiser name is very rich.

Surely this must be the oldest trademark dispute in the world that is still actively being fought in the courts—does anyone know of an older one?

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Posted by William Lozito at April 20, 2007 1:45 PM
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