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Monday, 17 September 2007

Is an end in sight to the Budweiser dispute?

An unexpected end could be on the way to the Budweiser dispute. It is reported by Forbes that Anheuser-Busch is in talks with the Czech Government to purchase the Czech brewer Budweiser Budvar. However, as in all matters concerning the dispute between the two companies, the picture is far from clear.

Czech Business Weekly reports that the privitisation of Budweiser Budvar, which is currently state-owned, is going slowly because the Czech Government is afraid of jeopardising the brewer’s ‘legal continuity’, and therefore putting its trade marks at risk. The Budvar brand is thought to be worth 20 and 30 billion Czech crowns. According to Ivan Fuksa, deputy minister of finance:

“The Ministry of Agriculture is at present considering the pros and possible cons of the transformation. It will probably use analyses made by a prestigious consultant to ensure certainty and full continuity of the activity and rights (including those connected with intellectual property) during the intended change of Budvar”.

The IPKat can see how a buy-out would, in principle, solve the trade mark disputes. However, if the Budvar brand really has its own value (as opposed to just being purchased to get rid of a thorn in Anheuser-Busch’s side), then it would have to co-exist on the market with US Budweiser. But aren’t the two companies claiming that the co-existence of the two on the market causes confusion?

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