back to article Budvar beats Anheuser-Busch in latest Budweiser battle

US brewer Anheuser-Busch has lost its attempt to register the word 'budweiser' as a trade mark for beer in the European Union. Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar has won the right to market its beers under the name. The Court of First Instance (CFI) of the EU has ruled in Budvar's favour after a number of decisions and appeals. …


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  1. andy gibson

    US Budweiser "beer"

    Do they get the dogs to pee into each bottle individually or do they all pee into a big vat and its then poured into the bottles?

  2. Tim

    They cant use Pißwasser either.

    unless they can prove that their beer is actually more Piß that water, which is probably easy to do!

  3. Neil Bauers

    Good decision.

    US brewer Anheuser-Busch make a pale imitation of the Czech brew Budejovicky Budvar. After all the Czechs invented Plzen style lager. Ripping off the beer is bad enough. Ripping off the name is a step too far.

  4. Justabloke

    it doesn't matter...

    who calls it "budweiser" cos anyone with any sense at all knows which is the correct stuff to drink and its not the chilled produce of a golden shower that our colonial cousins market...

  5. Codge

    Only chavs drink that yank piss

    Let's be honest, Budweiser, (the merkin one) has virtually no flavour at all, which is why youngsters drink it.

    Budvar on the other hand does taste like lager.

    Not that I drink lager mind.

    Have you ever seen some-one under thirty with a pint of bitter in their hand?

    Me meither! We're all doomed I tell ye, DOOMED!

  6. Dan
    Thumb Up

    A victory for the better beer

    Msg ends.

  7. Chris Weston
    Thumb Up

    Why all the fuss?

    Surely it would have been easier to award the use of the name to the brand that actually tastes like beer and has pleasant attributes. This is only true of the Budvar product, so they get the name. Much less farting about required.

  8. Jerome
    Thumb Up


    It seems justice has been served in this case, at least if it's judged on taste alone. Budvar is pretty nice stuff, and certainly preferable to that odious American piss.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Does anyone really give a flying fuck?

  10. Bob Kentridge

    more evidence

    'Budvar had submitted copies of adverts in Germany and Austria and invoices for customers in Germany and Austria for sales of the beer. The CFI agreed with the Board of Appeal "the evidence which Budvar produced was clearly sufficient to prove genuine use of the earlier international word mark 'Budweiser'".'

    If they need any more evidence I remember (reasonably clearly) drinking it in Austria years ago in bottles clearly marked 'Budweiser' from Budvar....

  11. Richard Thomas

    What do a bottle of Bud and sex in a dinghy have in common?

    They're both fucking close to water

  12. Elmer Phud

    Sour Grapes

    To those of us who perfer the Euro-brew to the US version it means that Anheuser-Busch can't force a change of labelling on Budvar. O.K., it's easier to spot the better Bud on the shelves as they aren't in tiny bottles but I reckon it also means that A-B will find it harder to run an ad campaign aimed at running the real thing out of town.

    (On the other hand why isn't it reported as a fight between two drug sellers to gain control over the main European market.)

  13. Richard


    I'm really sick of misrepresentation. The American stuff is rank, has no flavour and is like drinking pop.

    What I want to see is legislation regarding place of origin. How can a beer brewed in a different country be called the same beer? Take Stella, "Belgium's Original Beer" emblazoned on the front and "Brewed in the UK" on the side. How does that work? The UK shite has a lower ABV content and tastes totally different to the original.

    All marketing people should be hung.

  14. James Pickett


    Never mind the name 'Budweiser' - should they be allowed to call it 'beer'?

  15. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Thank God for that!

    While the original Czech Budweiser is one of the best pilsners in the world, the American cheap knock-off "Bud" smells and tastes of puke and is an insult to the word "beer".

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, but

    Surely the only thing that matters is that the Czech stuff is pretty decent, the Septic stuff is like making love in a rowing boat.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    So, uniquely in Europe.

    If you order a Budweiser, you get beer.

    I suppose everywhere else in the world has to continue to live with watered piss as a result of that request......

  18. W

    So in summary?

    Budvar "already had trade marks for that term in relation to beer for Germany, Austria, Benelux, France and Italy" [...there was a lot of backing and forthing before...] "Anheuser-Busch was therefore denied the right to an EU-wide trade mark, but the ruling will not affect the trade marks which it has in individual countries within the EU."

    This article gave us the backs and forths, but didn't really make clear what the upshot of the decision is.

    -Will Anheuser-Busch no longer be allowed to sell 'the US Budweiser' as "Budweiser" in Germany, Austria, Benelux, France and Italy?

    -Or, does Anheuser-Busch have approved trademarks in those (and other) counties?

    -If so, what is the real world purpose of the CFI / OHIM EU-wide decisions?

    -Is it a case of: "From this point forth, you're better off going for a catch-all EU trademark from the CFI / OHIM, but if it's for something where you're already registered in seperate countries, then it's something the CFI / OHIM have no powers over"?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This one's never seemed difficult to me

    Budvar is brewed in a town known in Czech as České Budějovice and in German as Budweis. It is only just over the present German border and historically had a reasonably high German speaking population before the wars and when the brewery was founded. In the same way someone from Berlin is a Berliner, someone from Budweis to a German speaker is a Budweiser. It astounds me that Anheiser have ever got a trademark anywhere in Europe because of this.

    As any good American could tell you though, they're easy to tell apart. One of them is one of the greatest beers in the world and the other is fizzy tasteless piss beloved by those too susceptible to advertising.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Why not...

    ... let Budvar have "Budweiser Beer" and Anheuser-Busch have the more honest "Budweiser Piss"?

  21. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward


    As an American, I applaud Budvar's efforts to make it harder for Anheuser-Busch to peddle their lager Over There. (I will say in the defense of American brewers that their lagers (the better ones) do work well with American summers (hot) and modern refrigeration. On a day when it is 90 F. in the shade, a Coors chilled almost to freezing can be quite refreshing).

  22. The BigYin
    Thumb Up


    Budvar is the one true king of beers. Well, of that style of lager anyway.

    The Great Pretender tastes how I imagine fermented and filtered cat's piss would taste and should lose the right use the name "Budweiser" name globally in relation to the alcoholic lagered beverage.

    If Americans want to find out what a proper lager should taste like, I think it is marketed as "Budstar" or something over there. Either that or check out your local micro-brewery.

    All-in-all an excellent decision by the EU.

  23. Niall Campbell

    Any similarity between...

    Budweiser and beer is purely accidental. Like all American beers, it is gnats pee. Budvar, on the other hand, does what it is supposed to, is brewed the correct way and with a strong enough aclohol content to enable it to be called beer.

    Having sampled many brews from time living on the continent, i feel suitably qualified and shoudl they need me to act as an expert witness, I'm quite prepared to do so, having first gone on an all-expenses paid, six month fact-finding tour.

  24. matt
    Thumb Up

    I'd rather

    drink Budvar any day of the week, month or year... especially the dark one, mmm yum!

  25. Anonymous Coward


    I always ask for the stuff by the name 'Budvar' anyway to avoid any danger of being mistakenly served Budweiser (as in that American "beer"/foetid cattle piss stuff).

  26. Gregory J. Neumann

    False Advertising?

    Seems to me the application could have been denied simply on the grounds that the US version can only be considered beer in some warped US definition. As a victim of the mass marketing kill off of the numerous small breweries in the eastern half of the US, I can only applaud this unexpected outburst of common sense on the part of the EU!

    Mine's the one w/ the Saranac India Pale Ale in the pocket. ;-)

  27. Chris Miller

    No risk of confusion

    One is a beer and the other is a disgusting artificially-flavoured alcoholic beverage. Which is which is left as an exercise for the reader.

  28. Brian Smith

    All sounds very....

    ..... mmmmmmm Duff!!

  29. Hollerith

    They keep trying

    Anheuser-Busch keep trying to get this trademark, but Budvar prove time and time again that they were there first, and they were, so can the Yanks please stop bullying?

  30. Code Monkey

    Excellent news

    Gorgeous Continental Lager 1 - Watery Pish 0

  31. zedee
    Thumb Down

    All fair and dandy but

    Who buys (yank) Budweiser in Europe?

    The local Stag brewery in west London produces the stuff, and they used to go on occasional forays trying to give the stuff away in my local and others nearby.

    They put free pints in front of you, without you having to ask, so there was no effort in getting one.

    One sip, just to remind ourselves of how minging it is. Then back to paying for beer we want to drink.

  32. Kevin Johnston


    Given the choice, I know which Budweiser I would rather drink....sorry Anheuser-Busch but it ain't yours....

  33. Andrew Moore


    Good beer triumphs over shit beer.

    From what I understand, any beer brewed in the town of Budvice has the right to call itself budweiser. And they have a brewing standard close to the Reinheitsgebot which the "piss syphoned directly from our very own Clydesdales" does not adhere to.

  34. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Oh Reg...

    You make me so happy sometimes.

    I should have showed more faith on the comments in the Madoff article.

  35. MJI Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Just a few more countries to go

    Time to celebrate with a bottle of Budvar

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So Anheuser-Busch is crying into its beer

    If, of course, you class Budweiser as Beer, or even a beer like substance.

    That's the reason its served so cold. So a layer of ice forms over the tounge and protects the tastebuds from the liquid.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Glad Budvar won this.

    It is such a shame that the totally delicious Budvar Budweiser beer shares a name with the barely drinkable American alcoholic urine-like bottled awfulness.

  38. Chris Lovell
    Thumb Up

    Good on them!

    Budvar is a wonderful beer, far better than the piss-water US 'Bud' - may it continue to prosper!

  39. David Adams

    Who cares?

    It all tastes like pi$$ anyway.

  40. Philip J.F. Quinlan
    Thumb Up

    Anheuser-Busch make beer?

    Of course Anheuser-Busch can't get a trademark for beer under the Budweiser name they should also be done under trade description for referring to that rice based swill as beer in the first place.

    The merkins can make beer, they just choose not to export it (Fat Tyre, Sierra, Red Tail...) The bland watery crap they export should not carry the honorific beer, nor indeed the name of the brewery that the useless twat who founded the co. was expelled from. </rant>

  41. RW
    Black Helicopters

    Appellation contrôlée

    Given the origin of the name Budweiser, why isn't it legally restricted in the EU to beer actually brewed at its eponym?

    Somebody needs to write a history of American beer and show us all how the many German-origin breweries went so badly off the rails.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    To be fair to the Septics... actual fact their revolting version is older than the Budweiser Budvar one, so it's not entirely unreasonable that they feel they have some claim to the name. That's the end of the fairness, though, 'cos they shouldn't be allowed to sell the muck at all, it's so bad. Oh, and in countries where Budvar has the trademark, A-B peddles their filth as "Bud".

    Paris, 'cos she's got more taste than Bud.

  43. Darkside

    Guerrilla success in War of Attrition

    What's happening here is that A-B, which is part of a huge conglomerate, goes to law on the slightest pretext and keeps appealing every nitpick for as long as it can. The lawyers' fees and court costs are money tied up until one side wins decisively and the loser has to pay both sides' costs. That's a drop in the bucket to A-B, a lot of money to Budvar. Also, it's a gamble: if A-B lose they can delay payment so as to spin the game out longer, but if Budvar lose it could bankrupt them.

    So it's corporate bullying by A-B.

    They ought to spell it as they pronounce it: "Badweiser". In the UK that'd attract more teenagers (it was MY idea!) but in Germany it'd imply the product's bathwater.

  44. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Up


    A-B can probably get a trademark on 3P which would be putrid panther piss of course.

    For those who don't know, good US beer was killed off during our failed experiment with Prohibition and held down by the overbearing laws that were enacted when Prohibition was ended. Some semblance of sanity was restored in 1978 when homebrewing was legalized by the federal gubbermint so Billy Carter could make his stank beer legally. Giving people the ability to experiment and create decent beer without investing tons of money in a full-on brewery gave birth to the "microbrew" generation and finally budmilloor has some local competition. After a stumbling start through the 1980's finally the groundwork was laid for the economic juggernaut that powered the 1990's. True story, Jimmy Carter's greatest legacy powered the economy of many presidents after him and is the reason why Carter will ultimately go down in history as the second greatest president of the United States. He would have gotten the number one spot if it weren't for the whole Iran hostage debacle.

  45. Richard


    Clearly you're not a beer drinker. That's your IT angle right there.

  46. Nick Miles

    NOt all Merkin beer is bad

    Just most of it.

    The Steam beers are just lovely IMHO as are some of the Pale Ales, Sierra Nevada for starters.

  47. Chris

    Good to see not a single person here in favour of merkin bud

    Any one would think that geeks, perhaps unlike the general population, actually cared about what they drank.

  48. Chris
    Thumb Up

    @By The BigYin

    Budvar is known as Czechvar in the US. Fairly tasty, but we have some really remarkable craft brews over here now. For those of you who still think "All American beers taste like pi$$", you are badly out-of-date. Some of the best-tasting beers in the world are being made over here now. But we keep them all for ourselves! Bwahahaha! The craft beer aisle in my local liquor superstore is much larger than the import shelf.

    Anheuser-Busch is actually now owned by the Brazilian-Belgian conglomerate InBev, so it technically isn't even American beer now. The largest 100% American-owned brewery in the US is now D.G. Yuengling & Sons of Pottsville, PA. (Also the oldest in the US.)

  49. Alex Wright

    Its not beer

    The reason American Bud tastes so bad is quite simple. Real beer has four ingredients - Malt, hops, water and yeast. The yeast turns the sugars in the malt into alcohol.

    Malt (essentially roasted barley) adds flavour, body (in the form of non fermentable carbohydrates and soluble fibre) and sugar, and is expensive.

    American Bud replaces most of the malt with rice. Rice doesn't taste of much, and has very little soluble fibre to give the "beer" body, and is cheap.

    And, and this makes me laugh, they try and tell you this is a good thing!

  50. Anonymous Coward

    A brief history of american beer.

    The end.

  51. DrXym Silver badge

    In defence of Budweiser (US version)

    Okay, it's perhaps defence is too strong a word, but the fact is that it is very drinkable, has a light taste and makes you drunk. Not everyone likes the strong hoppy taste of most European beers and thus we have Millers, Labatts, Coors and Budweiser.

    That said, I would much prefer a world of different beers rather than a handful of brands dominating every pub. Ireland demonstrates what sort of hellscape you get when that happens. Diageo, owners of the Guinness brand (and "brewed under licence" makers of Budweiser) ensure you will see the same damn drinks and spirits in one pub to the next. Only Cork breaks free somewhat and only because Heineken (another drinks giant) has a toehold there.

    The situation is wretched so the more brands that slip through the icy fingers of these drinks giants the better.

  52. Charles

    To all Europeans...

    Turnabout is fair play. We like our beer the way we like it. We want it thin so we can enjoy more of it on a hot summer day without becoming drunk as bums. European climate differs quite a bit from American climate (especially SOUTHERN American climate where summer temps can hit triple digits Fahrenheit--40 C). Sure, some people overdo it anyway, but that's humanity for you.

    To their credit, Brits like their ale, and I don't knock them for it; and Europeans are fond of tradition and flavorful lagers. You may call American beer as bad as urine, but likewise Americans could say your beers are as bitter as shoe polish--to each his own, IOW. But now I ask--AB has been using the Budweiser name practically since its inception in the mid 19th century. Can Budvar or the town of Budweiss lay claim to have brewed beer longer than that? If not, then AB could make claim on historical grounds as the first worldwide to trademark the name--first come, first served is usually how patents and trademarks go, and then leverage international agreements--after all, if the EU won't honor American trademarks (especially ones with century-long precedents), then perhaps America won't honor European trademarks, either.

  53. Trevor

    In defense of USA beer

    There is some good beer in the USA. It is called microbrew, small companies & some restaurants make em.

    They don't get exported because the get consumed locally.

    And there is not really beer. If you think the American Budweiser is bad then I suggest you try (or give to you enemies) Coors and Corona [which is not actually a mexican beer - only Americans drink it]

  54. Paul

    Where's the problem?

    Isn't trademark law such that you can have the same trademark for two products that don't compete?

    Considering that, who would seriously assert that A-B's "Budweiser" competes with anything that is actually beer?

  55. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Anonymous Coward

    @ Niall Campbell

    Quote: " ...Like all American beers, it is gnats pee..."

    I used to think like that, but a trip to Portland, Oregon sorted me out. Some of those micro beers are truly excellent.

    That said, AB's Budweiser IS pish - and, not surprisingly, it was always the cheapest beer on the 'menu' in the bars there.

  57. Chris Miller

    @Niall Campbell

    "Like all American beers, it is gnats pee."

    Maybe you haven't been to the states recently. Your statement was true 20 years ago, and remains true for the mega-brewers - Bud, Coors, even Miller (no relation) - but there are lots of microbreweries producing very good beer, they're mostly along the west coast and in the Bos-Wash region, producing bottles (except for the brewhouses) because the US lacks the distribution network for real ales. Their scale is too small for many of them to appear this side of the pond, though I've seen Anchor Steam Beer (somewhat like Ruddles) from San Francisco in my local Waitrose.

  58. Sam

    While you're at it...

    "Appellation contrôlée

    By RW Posted Thursday 26th March 2009 14:34 GMT

    Given the origin of the name Budweiser, why isn't it legally restricted in the EU to beer actually brewed at its eponym?"

    This calls for some major changes in the US.

    Hamburgers - Freedom burgers?

    (The icon 'cos they're flame-grilled.)

  59. Andy Barber

    I for one...

    ...wish to welcome our EU Lords & Master's, who are telling the US brewer of a shit 'beer' to FO. Beer doesn't continue rice. FO our European Brand Name.

  60. Steve Evans

    @AC (miles back up there somewhere)...

    "Someone from Berlin is a Berliner"... Errrr... JFK tried that one... Doughnut (literally).

    Anyway, nice to see that good taste has prevailed :-)

    I think most of my favourite Euro beers are safe from trademark jumping, the Polish ones don't have enough vowels to be pronounced, let alone trademarked!

    Na zdrowie :-)

  61. Muscleguy
    Thumb Down

    heat is not an argument

    It gets hot in Spain and Italy and their beers aren't gnats piss. Efes in Turkey is a quaffable drop too. The wife and I were in a pub/restaurant in Arbroath recently and since the on tap beers were off (a bad sign) we asked what bottled they had and the answer was something like Stella and 'Budweiser' assuming the latter to be the real thing we went for it. Imagine our horror to be served Bud.

    We've been to the Plsner Urquell brewery in Plzen (other claim to fame, home of the Skoda factory). If you get a chance do the tour. They show you the gleaming stainless steel modern brewery then they take you down into the chalk tunnels where they used to lager the beer (cool you see) and lo, there is a large wooden barrel and it has a tap in it! It's genuine live Pilsner brewed the old way, naturally frothy and it is the very nectar. Unfortunately we were leaving immediately afterwards and I was driving . . . The family partook though and were encouraged to have as much as they wanted.

  62. Jeff

    @ Charles

    From wikipedia: "The original Budweiser Bier or Budweiser Bürgerbräu, had been founded in 1785 in Budweis, Bohemia, Holy Roman Empire and had started exports to the US in 1871 resp. 1875. In the U.S., Anheuser-Busch started using the Budweiser brand in 1876 and registered it two years later."

    I'm from Australia, whose traditional beers are only margainally better than yours. But the microbrew movement is slowly but surely taking hold here too.

    Your argument about thirst quenching doesn't hold much water either. Bud is no more thirst quenching than soda water. In the hot climate here I prefer bitterness to aid thirst quenching, an IPA is brilliant for this (yes, originated in dreary old England). Also consider a gin&tonic, the bitterness of the tonic water is what makes it so refreshing.

    Feel free to defend your local beers, but a few facts here or there don't go astray either.

  63. Saul Dobney

    The next step is...

    I wonder if Budvar would up the ante and now claim trademark infringement against AB? This has shown is that AB don't have the trademark. Do Budvar actually have it?

  64. Chris Miller

    Ich bin ein Berliner

    Way off topic, but:

    Berliner can mean 'a person from Berlin' or 'a doughnut from Berlin'. It has been argued that prefixing the indefinite article implies the doughnut and so JFK should have said "Ich bin Berliner" just as I would say "Ich bin Englander". No Germans that I've spoken to agree with this interpretation, however.

  65. Charles


    Then Budvar does indeed have a case on historic grounds, too. That had been my chief concern. But back to American beer. There must be a reason more Americans drink very light beers. After all, Bud Light is #1 in the US--even with stronger traditional Bud at the same price. And this over even cheaper offerings like Natural, Milwaukee's Best, and so on. And when's the last time you heard of traditional Coors or even Miller beer? Like I said, it must be an acquired taste.

  66. Eddy Ito
    Paris Hilton


    It's easy, Bug^Hd Light is #1 because ads show smoking hot chicks in bikinis drinking it. The intent is twofold. First, the girls think, "oh, light beer, I can drink it by the case and not get fat because those girls aren't fat." Second, the boys think, "well, it isn't really any worse than regular Bud so I can drink it and the hot chicks drink it. Therefore, I need to always have enough on hand to pass out to the hotties when I get some action. <wink><nudge>" What we know to be true is that when an ad basically says 'see our tit, buy our shit' people generally buy their shit.

    Paris - who else?

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles et al.

    Quote: The history of brewing in České Budějovice dates back to 1265.In that year King Přemysl Otakar II founded České Budějovice, formerly Budiwoyz or Budweis, and granted the town the right to brew beer. České Budějovice was awarded the “mile privilege” by Charles IV in 1351. This privilege gave the town burgers a monopoly on all brewing activities within a certain radius of the town.

    Also, remember kids, lager is not really beer so realistically neither AB nor Budvar can claim to produce Budweiser "beer" cos neither Budweiser is actually beer.

    If It ain't bitter it ain't beer.

    @Sam: actually this was tried during WWII, I forget what they tried to rename Hamburgers to but this is the reason Frankfurters were renamed hotdogs. Obviously the hotdog thing stuck but he replacement for hamburger didn't.

  68. jake Silver badge

    Budweiser isn't traditional beer.

    Let me preface this with the fact that I am a home brewer and wine maker (although my wine making has now reached the several thousands of barrels annually). I have judged home brewing competitions. I know what good beer is.

    I enjoy California's fine selection of micro brews, and fine selection of wines. I have made pilgrimages to all the traditional breweries in Europe, and most of the wineries. I never drink the swill sold as "European beer" here in the states. While I know the historical reasoning for it, I can't handle the intentional addition of methanethiol (aka methyl mercaptan) that many European beers have in this country. Skunk isn't my favorite smell/flavor.

    THAT said, Budweiser & it's varietals are really quite amazing products. They aren't really "beer", but rather preserved water. Their taste, or lack thereof, leaves very little room for mistakes. The fact that they have figured out how to produce it on such a massive scale, world wide, is a tribute to modern industrial capability.

    Instead of thinking of it as "beer", try thinking of it as a thirst-quenching beverage ... not an alternative to water (there isn't one, "sports drink" manufacturers claims to the contrary not withstanding). For example, if you spend the afternoon hand-mixing 40x100 pound bags of concrete to set 20 fence posts in 75F+ weather (me, today, my mixer's engine is waiting on a new magneto ::grmble::), maintain hydration with water whilst working ... but take a pint (or 24 ounce can) of ice cold BudLight into the shower with you when you are done.. Seriously. Try it. Refreshing.

    To those of you who claim it tastes like horse piss or whathaveyou, taste it again. Get a sample that is less than a month past it's "born on date" (it is aged at the brewery, and is built to be consumed young), and one that hasn't spent a lot of time fluctuating between hot & cold. Again, I'm serious. A properly stored glass of BudLight has no phenolics, esters, sulphides, tannins, the afore mentioned "skunk", etc. It tastes of yeast (barely), malt (barely), and hops (kinda, if you squint), and little else. There is no after-taste to speak of, and no sticky mouth feel.

    No, I don't work for A/B, nor do I own stock. Just trying to open a few closed minds. Again, I'm probably tilting at windmills. Whatever.

    While I do keep BudLight around, I currently have a Lagunitas Maximus at my elbow.

    I might follow it with an Indian Brown from Dogfish Head:

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