A European Union high court on Tuesday scrapped a trademark for Anheuser-Busch's famous "Bud" beer name in Europe, handing a legal victory to Czech rival Budvar.
The Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance said the EU's trademark agency had "made several errors" in previously rejecting arguments by Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar against Anheuser's trademark application.
The Czech company said it had already registered "Bud" under a 1958 agreement which protected the name as a geographical indicator of origin in France, Austria and the former Czechoslovakia.
The court ruled the trademark agency had to "take account of earlier rights" protected in member states, adding the agency had "made an error of law" in rejecting the use of the word and signs in the context of a commercial activity.
The ruling is part of a complex set of decisions about the name of Budweiser and its derivatives in Europe over the past years.
The name can also be protected under separate nationally registered trademarks.
Anheuser-Busch, which was taken over by Belgian brewer InBev this year, filed several trademark applications between 1996 and 2000 to protect its most iconic beer brand "Budweiser" and "Bud."
Anheuser-Busch's trademark had covered the use of the word "Bud" on signs, beer labels and promotional goods in the 27 nations of the EU.