In the preliminary injunction proceedings the judge again confirmed that ABI is not allowed to use the designation of BUDWEISER in Italy, determining a time-limit for withdrawing such designated products as of 10th February 2014.
Budějovický Budvar Brewery has launched the distribution of its pale lager labelled Budweiser Budvar in Italy. Italian customers will thus be able to savour the original “Beer from Budweis” under its original name during the Christmas period. This was enabled after 13 years on account of the recent ruling of the Italian Supreme Court, which banned Anheuser-Busch InBev company (hereinafter referred to as ABI) from using its “BUDWEISER” trademark in Italy, declaring the trademark a deceptive one and ordering its removal from the Italian trademark register. Italy ranks amongst the most important beer markets in the world, holding a 5th position in the consumption of imported beer (about 6 million hectolitres of beer p.a.)
“Following the Supreme Court’s judgement we swiftly prepared new packaging and began supplying to our importers in Italy as early as during November. Our beer with the BUDWEISER BUDVAR label is on the Italian shop counters these days, being also tapped in restaurants,” says Budweiser Budvar’s sales director Robert Chrt. Despite the fact that the Italian Supreme Court ordered withdrawing ABI’s “BUDWEISER” beer from the Italian market, Budějovický Budvar’s competitor has failed to do so as yet under various excuses. “Since our business interests are being severely harmed and Italian consumers are being further deceived, we had to ask the Commercial Court in Milan for help,” explains Robert Chrt.
The court satisfied Budějovický Budvar’s motion. “In the preliminary injunction proceedings the court confirmed that ABI is not allowed to use the designation of BUDWEISER for beer in Italy, ordering the company to withdraw such designated products including related advertising as of 10th February 2014. We believe that Budějovický Budvar’s competitor will respect this ruling,” adds Lukáš Lorenc, an associate to ‘Čermák a spol.’ law firm, which has been acting for the Czech brewery.
Ironically, the originality of “Beer from Budweis” produced in the town of České Budějovice as early as in the Middle Ages was even admitted by the ABI concern’s founder Mr. Adolphus Busch in the 19th century. On 26th April 1894, he stated before the District Court of South New York e.g. that “The idea was simply to brew a beer similar in quality, color, flavor and taste to beer at the time made at Budweis, or in Bohemia.” In the dispute with Fred Miller Brewing Company both American producers tried to convince the court who was producing a better copy of “Beer from Budweis”.
Legal disputes over the “BUDWEISER” trademark between Budějovický Budvar Brewery and ABI have taken place since 1907, with Budějovický Budvar being substantially the more successful one. During 2000 - 2012, 173 legal disputes and administrative procedures were finalised, 120 of which were won by Budějovický Budvar and 10 finishing in a settlement or draw. Owing to the registration of the “BUDWEISER” and “BUDWEISER BUDVAR” trademarks that are owned by Budějovický Budvar, the supranational concern ABI cannot use its key “BUDWEISER” trademark in nearly 70 countries.