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Lawsuits & Litigation

EU Court Strips McDonald’s of ‘Big Mac’ Trademark

— January 16, 2019

After two years of litigation in a European Union court, McDonald’s has lost its right to the ‘Big Mac’ trademark across the continent.

In what’s been cast as a mythically lopsided battle, an Irish food chain has seized control of the ‘Big Mac’ trademark from McDonald’s.

The Tuesday ruling means that Supermac’s will be allowed to expand its fast food business throughout the United Kingdom. McDonald’s, meanwhile, will have to contend with the loss of a staple name in its European market.

The lawsuit, notes Fox News, was the result of ‘building tensions’ between the American burger behemoth and Supermac’s.

McDonald’s, attempting to flex its big-business legal muscle, claimed that the name Supermac’s would confuse customers intent on buying a Big Mac.

“We knew when we took on this battle that it was a David versus Goliath scenario but, just because McDonald’s has deep pockets, and we are relatively small in context doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner,” Supermac’s owner Pat McDonagh said.

The Independent reports that the Irish firm submitted a complaint to the European Union Property Office in April of 2017. Supermac’s requested that the office cancel the Big Mac and Mc trademarks that McDonald’s holds in certain classes.

McDonald’s claimed that the name ‘Supermac’s’ might somehow mislead customers who wanted to buy a Big Mac. Image via Flickr via Wikimedia Commons/user:Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Moreover, Supermac’s accused McDonald’s of “trademark bullying; registering brand names… which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors.”

The Europe-wide judgment, which the Independent says will take immediate effect, determined that McDonald’s hasn’t proven adequate use of the ‘Big Mac’ trademark as a restaurant name or burger.

“It follows from the above that the EUTM proprietor has not proven genuine use of the contested EUTM for any of the goods and services for which it registered,” the judgment says. “As a result, the application for revocation is wholly successful and the contested EUTM must be revoked in its entirety. According to Article 62(1) EUTMR, the revocation will take effect from the date of the application for revocation, that is, 11/04/2017.”

Supermac’s MD chief Pat McDonagh said the victory’s for small businesses over the world.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, it’s great that you can get a hearing from the European office,” McDonagh said. “I’m delighted with the result; I was hopeful for a positive outcome—but not to the extent which we won.”

“It’s been a long road, nearly four years,” he continued, “but it was worth it to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals.

“Never mind David versus Goliath, the unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks,” McDonaugh said, paying homage both to the Bible and Irish rugby.


‘It’s like Connacht winning against the All Blacks’: Supermac’s CEO responds to Big Mac trademark success against McDonald’s

McDonald’s loses ‘Big Mac’ trademark battle to Irish fast food chain Supermac’s

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