In 2001, ABI attempted to register its four trademarks with the BUDWEISER element in Portugal, in spite of the fact that Budweiser Budvar Brewery owned several BUDWEISER trademarks in this country at the time. The Czech brewery therefore successfully contested its competitor’s intents at the Portuguese Trademark Office. In 2003, the office refused to register ABI’s trademarks; however ABI appealed against the decision to the Commercial Court. Last December, the Lisbon Commercial Court dismissed ABI’s appeal, fully supporting Budweiser Budvar with its judgement. ABI again appealed against the Commercial Court’s ruling, but the Court of Appeal definitively dismissed the appeal, substantiating the decision by the following arguments:
- it was not proven that the BUDWEISER trademark owned by ABI is generally known in Portugal
- the new trademarks submitted by ABI are confusingly similar to older trademarks with the BUDWEISER element owned by Budweiser Budvar
There is no legal remedy against the ruling of the Court of Appeal. “We maintained the position of our BUDWEISER trademark, at the same time preventing ABI from entering the Portuguese market, as the company will not be able to register its new trademarks,” says Budweiser Budvar’s PR manager Petr Samec. “The result provides us with an indisputable legal safeguard to keep selling our beer in Portugal. Furthermore, it can be used as a legal precedent for disputes with ABI in other countries,” adds Petr Samec
This has been Budweiser Budvar’s second crucial victory in a short time. Last October, Budweiser Budvar along with its Italian importers achieved a historical victory in a dispute over the “BUEDWEISER” trademark in Italy (see press release of 8. 10. 2013).
The legal disputes over the BUDWEISER trademark have been going on since 1907. On the whole, Budweiser Budvar has been more successful in them, having won about 70% of the cases. During 2000-2013, 184 legal disputes and administrative procedures were finalised, out of which 125 ended in favour of Budweiser Budvar and 10 in conciliation or a draw. Owing to the registrations of “BUDWEISER” or “BUDWEISER BUDVAR” trademarks owned by Budweiser Budvar, the transnational concern ABI cannot use its key brand of “BUDWEISER” in nearly 70 countries.