Rumbles of protectionism were heard on Friday when Germany’s Federal Court of Justice ruled that US brewing behemoth Anheuser-Busch could not use the famed ‘Bud’ diminution of its Budweiser brand in the nation’s marketplace.

The ruling, which rejected use of the branding ‘American Bud’ centred on the likelihood of consumer confusion with existing German brand Bit marketed by local brewer Bitburger with the slogan “Bitte ein Bit,”(‘A Bit, please').

Judgement was deferred on another brand option: ‘Anheuser-Busch Bud’ which, the court held, would not necessarily confuse Teutonic beer-quaffers. The final decision was referred to a lower court.

The rival brewers are enmeshed in some sixty lawsuits across Europe following the breakdown in 1994 of a negotiated global settlement of their trademark dispute.

News source: Handelsblatt (Germany)