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It’s a long dispute with no apparent end in sight, and the latest victory goes to Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. A Hungarian court has ruled in favor of the St. Louis-based brewer, ordering cancellation for Czech beer-maker Budejovicky Budvar’s use of the “Bud,” “Budweiser Budvar” and “Budweiser Bier-Budvar” labels in Hungary. The court concluded the term “Bud” was not a reference to the city — Ceske Budejovice — where Budejovicky Budvar is based, Anheuser-Busch said Friday, and therefore that the Czech brewer could not claim it as a so-called appellation of origin. Such a claim would have entitled the company to use the name. The two breweries have been battling over Budweiser and other trade names since 1906 and are still involved in about 40 lawsuits worldwide. Anheuser-Busch claims it was using the Budweiser name in 1876 — 19 years before Budejovicky Budvar came into existence. “This is another significant court decision for Anheuser-Busch and reinforces our commitment to protect our famous trademarks throughout the world,” Stephen J. Burrows, president and chief executive of Anheuser-Busch International, said in a statement. Budvar, through its spokesman Petr Samec, declined to comment on the ruling until the Czech company officially receives the verdict. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser is the world’s biggest-selling full-calorie beer, and its Bud Light is the world’s top light beer. The brewery, which got its start in 1852, chose the Budweiser name because it was well-known in the German homeland of the Busch family. Budejovicky Budvar was founded in 1895. Its hometown, Ceske Budejovice, is called Budweis by the German-speaking people who populated the area at the time. Beer has been brewed there since 1265. Courts around Europe and Asia have gone back and forth — some ruling for the American brewer’s rights to the “Bud” name and others for the Czech. In January, the Commercial Court of Brussels upheld Budvar’s rights for various trademarks in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. And in April, Cambodia’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Budvar. But a ruling by the World Trade Organization earlier this year favored Anheuser-Busch. A dispute panel concluded that prior trademarks generally supersede later geographic indications, halting Budvar’s efforts to rely on the registration of the name to justify its use of “Budweiser” throughout the European Union, Anheuser-Busch said. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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