Just when the IPKat thought it was safe to redirect his lynx-like ears away from Luxembourg and towards the ball-by-ball commentary on the cricket match between England and Pakistan, the Court of Justice -- which has been quite quiet over the past few days -- sputtered into life again with a ruling in Case C‑214/09 P, Anheuser-Busch Inc. v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, Budějovický Budvar, národní podnik, the final appeal in a minor part of the larger and apparently eternal war between the formerly American Budweiser (now European-ly Belgian) and its Czech mate Budvar.
The Court of Justice today agreed that Budvar's earlier rights to the name in Germany and Austria, where genuine use was sufficiently evidenced, were a sufficient basis upon which to base a successful opposition. AB Inbev still holds trade mark rights for the words BUD or BUDWEISER in 23 of the 27 EU countries, and this decision has no effect on them.
The Court also clarified a legal-procedural issue (at para.69), ruling that the lower court did not err in law (i) when it held that OHIM was entitled to require proof that an earlier mark had been renewed, where that mark was due to expire after the notice of opposition was filed and (ii) when it held that an opposing party was not required to provide such proof on its own initiative.
Campaign for real ale here