Today’s ruling of the EU’s General Court does not threaten Budweiser Budvar’s activities in the EU
“We are not pleased about the ruling. However, since the verdict is not final, following a thorough studying of the ruling we are going to evaluate our chances for a possible change and consider appealing to the Court of Justice of the European Union,” says Budweiser Budvar’s lawyer Helena Votřelová. “Today’s verdict does not interfere with our business activities in the EU countries in any way. In the countries, where the BUD trademarks had already been registered, these will still remain valid,“ explains Helena Votřelová. Budweiser Budvar has a registered BUD trademark e.g. in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the UK, France, Benelux and Bulgaria.“Our competitor has gained no new chances to expand under this ruling, as the existing situation basically remains maintained,” adds Helena Votřelová. The ruling does not concern the key trademarks of BUDWEISER and BUDWEISER BUDVAR in any way.
The CTM system is a very practical tool of the EU since it substantially simplifies the paperwork connected with the registration and subsequent administration of trademarks within the EU. In case of the Community trademark, one single registration provides protection in all member states of the EU, automatically extending its validity to any newly joined countries in the future. Nonetheless, what always applies is that older (earlier registered) national trademarks have priority over the Community trademark, remain valid and their owner can defend against the use of the younger Community trademark “on its territory”.
The global disputes over the BUDWEISER trademarks and its versions have been going on since 1907, therefore for more than 100 years. Budweiser Budvar has been very successful in them, particularly in the last years. Between 2000 and 2011, 124 legal disputes and administrative procedures have been finalised, 88 out of which ended in favour of Budweiser Budvar and 8 in a conciliation or a draw.