With great power comes…

…just another disappointment.

AB-InBev is having no more luck than plain old Anheuser Busch did in riding roughshod over those quarrelsome Czechs.

The newly formed brewing giant wanted to market its beer as “Bud” in the European Union and even had gotten the EU trademark office on board with that and was victorious in an administrative appeal. This week, Budejovicky Budvar NP, the Ceske Budejovice brewery which has been fighting AB around the world for decades about rights to the name “Budweiser” has gotten that ruling reversed by European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

Budweis is the German name for Ceske Budejovice and, while AB has used its Budweiser trademark in the US and many other countries since  1876, some 19 years before Budvar was formed, the Czech argument that the name should be taken to mean beer made in that historic city and according to its traditions has prevailed in many of the ongoing disputes. Use of even a variation of Budweiser in the EU would, of course, have been  a major victory for the newly merged giant…and still could be as they will presumably challenge this latest ruling.

It wasn’t all that long ago that all these disputes seemed likely to go away because AB was supposedly going to purchase Budvar, a nationalized brewery which the government of the Czech Republic has announced with  put up for sale to private owners one of these days.

The Court of the First Instance. That almost sounds like the title of a fantasy trilogy, do it not?

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