Anheuser-Busch InBev Buys Budweiser Trademarks from Czech Brewer

By Joseph Mandour on January 16, 2012

beer-bottle-pouring-thumb-200x132-40682 San Diego – Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev), the world’s largest brewer, has purchased the trademark rights to the Budweiser Beer brand in Europe from a small Czech brewer. This is a small step forward for A-B InBev in a long-running litigation over the hotly contested Budweiser brand.

In its quest for global control of the Budweiser brand, American A-B InBev purchased one of two brewers in the Czech town of Ceske Budejovice, which translates to “Budweis” in the German language. Its purchase of the Bedejovicky Mestansky Pivovar brewer and its ‘Budweiser’ brand, means that A-B InBev can tighten its grip on the ‘Budweiser’ trademark, thus ending a century-old battle for the well-known beer.

The other brewery in Ceske Budejovice, known as the Budvar brewer, whose beers are distributed in Ireland, is still claiming use of the Bud name and trademark but will likely look for a buyer in the coming years. Budvar is proudly owned by the Czechoslovakian government, which increased its exports of Budweiser in the 1970’s, thus fueling the ongoing trademark dispute even more.

The Czech government has been rumored to be considering selling off its prized assets like the Budvar brewery through a public stock flotation, where A-B InBev would likely purchase a large stake.

No information was available as to A-B InBev’s purchase price of the Bedejovicky Mestansky Pivovar’s rights to the Budweiser trademarks, however its parent company reportedly transferred the actual brewery and its employees to a different firm prior to the sale.

A big reason for InBev purchasing Anheuser-Busch three years ago was to put itself in the position to acquire global dominance of the Budweiser brand. The American brewer stepped up its exports to Russia and Brazil and is investing heavily in World Cup soccer sponsorships in order to increase its name recognition with beer drinkers all over the world.

The Budweiser trademark dispute dates back more than one hundred years, with all three breweries claiming historical rights to the famous brand and trademark. Since the 1970’s the beer companies have fought legal battles in several different countries as both Anheuser-Busch and Budvar increased their exports of Budweiser to other countries. Today, Budvar seems to have beer dominance in Eastern and Central Europe, Germany, and France, while Anheuser-Busch has been more successful in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and southern Europe.

No word on how residents of the small town in the largest beer drinking per capita country feel about the purchase.

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