Budweiser is an iconic beer in North America, but it was not the first, a Czech brewery established the name far earlier.
Last year a panel of judges at the European Court of Justice said that Anheuser-Busch's request for an EU trademark for âBudweiserâ was invalid, because BudÄjovickÃ Budvar had already registered the term as an âinternational word markâ, a type of intellectual property protection. The court's decision meant that BudÄjovickÃ Budvar, a Czech brewery, would be able to continue using the name Budweiser on labels and marketing materials for its beer Budvar.
I remember, years ago, while I was living in England, during a year of law school at Cambridge University, I was served my first Budvar. I was then informed that the North American beer was not the first with that name. However, this battle over the name has been raging for far longer. The use of the registered trademark for Budweiser Budvar beer is originally from the Czech Republic. The St. Louis-based Anheuser Busch has been trying to purchase the Pilsner trademark for global use from the Czech company for decades. But, successive Czech governments have persistently opposed this or any privatization of the state owned company.
As I enjoy a finely crafted cocktail and represent several hospitality industry establishments, todayâs article is of particular significance to me. So when I heard of a lawsuit by a distillery against a bar over the name of a cocktail, I immediately took notice. On the lower east side of New York a tiki bar formerly known as Painkiller is open for business. But this is not your grandmaâs canned tiki bar! Your drink may come in a hollowed out pineapple or garnished with a piece of fruit in flames, but it is not a sweet tooth cavity cocktail bar. In its first year in business, Painkiller, now known as PKNY, has achieved great recognition and acclaim. In Time Out New Yorkâs 2011 Food and Drink awards, PKNY, received Criticâs Pick for Best Lei in Town and runner up for Readerâs choice Best New Cocktail Bar. Named for a classic Tiki cocktail this establishment has been collecting converts sip after slushy sip.
However, this den of delicious libations was recently the subject of a federal trademark infringement lawsuit. The unlikely prosecutor was Pusser's Rum Ltd. The British Virgin Island manufacturer holds two U.S. trademarks, one for "alcoholic fruit drinks with fruit juices and cream of coconut and coconut juice," and one for...