Fight Over Rights to Budweiser Name Begs Question: This Bud’s For Who?
A small brewery in the Czech Republic and the “King of Beers” are in a heated battle over the right to use the name “Budweiser” on their bottles. The quarrelsome deal between Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch (AB) is not likely to be worked out anytime soon, but we love a good booze-fueled brawl.
The argument is over exclusive rights, as AB seeks to expand its market by using the Budweiser name, while Budvar fears that their brand will become obsolete without it. For that reason, countless proposals and counteroffers by both parties have been refused, resisted and spit on.
This little branding quandary was actually settled in 1939, when AB was given exclusive rights to the Budweiser name in American territories north of Panama. However, where they don't have exclusive rights, both companies are forced to utilize variations of the name. AB currently sells Budweiser as Bud in much of Europe, while Budvar sells its version in America as Czechvar.
It is possible for the two brewers to share rights in some places, as the Budweiser name is currently used by both companies in Britain, but both brewers want the name for themselves. The dispute has been the cause of over 60 lawsuits in 11 different countries since 1906.
Industry experts say that while AB can afford to hold out on negotiations for an extended period of time, Budvar is already being crippled by the standstill - preventing them from entering new markets. In the end, the dispute offers competition protection and the right for the two brewers to co-exist rather than dominate the global market.