Here is another long story around Budweiser beer which latest point is a decision of the CJE of July 29 which more particularly enlightens a procedural aspect.
Budvar, a Czech brewery, lodged an opposition against the CTM for “Budweiser” of Anheuser-Busch (AB). The opposition was based on the earlier marks “Budweiser” and “Budweiser Budvar”. AB asked Budvar to show proof that its opposed trademarks had been put into genuine use. Budvar provided evidence of use in compliance with the OHIM deadline for brining any further facts and evidence.
Budvar’s trademarks “BUDWEISER” was however due for renewal during the period granted by the OHIM for providing further facts and evidence. Budvar sent the corresponding certificate of renewal on its own initiative and after the expiry of the period for providing further facts and evidence. AB challenged the validity of that submission of the renewal certificate.
The Court did not follow AB’s claim and said that, under Community provisions, the OHIM is entitled to require proof that an earlier mark has been renewed where that mark expires after the notice of opposition has been filed. It added that those provisions do not require the opponent to submit proof of use on its own initiative. This is actually the very first case on the question and it is quite interesting to note that the burden (for once) has been placed on OHIM’s side.