Jurors find for A-B in ice-beer dispute.
Labatt had claimed that it invented ice beer and that Anheuser-Busch copied the idea. Ice beer is a competitive new beer category and several brewers have rolled out their own versions.
The Canadian firm sued Anheuser-Busch for $61 million, or triple the amount it says it lost as a result of the St. Louis-based brewer's introduction of an ice beer.
Anheuser-Busch had sought $13.5 million in damages from Labatt, The jury began deliberating Wednesday after three weeks of testimony.
Brewers such as Miller and Molson monitored the trial closely. Each is involved in a similar suit pending in federal court in Detroit, A-B attorney Peter Moll said.
Labatt argued it had an exclusive right to terms such as "ice," "ice beer" and "ice brewed." And it claimed A-B only became interested in the concept after a meeting with Labatt executives in March 1993.
A-B introduced Ice Draft from Budweiser last February. Last week, it announced it was changing the name of the brew to Bud Ice. A light version will be called Bud Ice Light.
Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for Labatt, said the brewer has similar cases pending in Canada and that Friday's decision would not affect Labatt's claims of patent infringement against Miller and Molson.
"We're confident that in our legal actions outside the United States and our patent infringement case in the United States our views will prevail," she said. Paul said Labatt would review the St. Louis decision before determining whether to appeal.
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|Title Annotation:||Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.|
|Publication:||Modern Brewery Age|
|Date:||Feb 20, 1995|
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