McDonald’s loses Big Mac trademark after legal battle with Irish chain

Supermac strips US food giant of trademark across Europe after landmark EU ruling

Pat McDonagh earned the nickname Supermac as an Irish teenager after a barnstorming performance in a Gaelic football match in the late 1960s.

The center half-back guided his school, Carmelite college of Moate, County Westmeath, to victory over St Gerald’s, a more fancied team.

On Tuesday, half a century later, McDonagh prevailed in a different arena when his fast-food chain, Supermac’s, won a landmark legal battle against McDonald’s over the use of trademarks.

The Galway-based firm persuaded the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to cancel McDonald’s use of the “Big Mac” trademark, opening the way for Supermac to expand across Britain and continental Europe.

McDonald’s can appeal against the ruling.

“We’re delighted. It’s a unique victory when you take on the golden arches and win,” McDonagh, Supermac’s managing director, said.

“This is a victory for all small businesses. It prevents bigger companies from hoarding trademarks with no intention of using them.”

The EUIPO, which is based in Alicante, Spain, ruled that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of Big Mac, which it trademarked in 1996, as a burger or restaurant name.

The trademark had stymied Supermac’s ambition of expanding beyond Ireland because McDonald’s had argued that similarity between Big Mac and Supermac would confuse customers.

“We said there’d be no confusion. Big Mac and Supermac are two different things,” said McDonagh, 65.

He opened the first Supermac’s in Ballinasloe, a town in County Galway, in 1978. The company now has 106 outlets across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In a statement, Supermac’s said it had won a David versus Goliath battle against trademark bullying by a powerful multinational.

“They trademarked the SnackBox, which is one of Supermac’s most popular products, even though the product is not actually offered by them,” said McDonagh. “The EU is basically saying either use it or lose it.”

On the day of the Brexit vote in Westminster the case showed the value of European Union membership, he said. “You can go to the EU and get a fair hearing.”

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

As 2019 begins…

… we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading our independent, investigative reporting than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our reporting as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

Please make a new year contribution today to help us deliver the independent journalism the world needs for 2019 and beyond. It’s now quicker and easier than ever to show your support for The Guardian. Contribute today from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

 

Source : theguardian.com

0
Restaurants 296 Comments Off on McDonald’s loses Big Mac trademark after legal battle with Irish chain

Comments are closed.

Top4 - Made in Australia with Love
Stay In Touch