Update 4.26pm: Supermac’s has won a significant trademark battle against global fast food giant McDonald’s.
The Co Galway-based restaurant chain challenged the worldwide burger chain to cancel the use of the Big Mac and Mc trademarks.
It submitted a request to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in April 2017 to cancel the use of the Big Mac and Mc trademarks that McDonald’s has registered in certain classes.
Supermac’s claimed McDonald’s engaged in “trademark bullying; registering brand names… which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors”.
Now the EUIPO said that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of the contested trademark as a burger or as a restaurant name.
A McDonald’s spokesperson responded saying: “We are currently considering our position.”
The battle comes after McDonald’s previously succeeded in stopping Supermac’s plans to expand into Great Britain and Europe on the basis of the similarity between the name Supermac’s and the Big Mac.
Supermac’s currently has 116 restaurants across Ireland, including three in Northern Ireland. Following this judgment, it now hopes to expand into the Great Britain and Europe.
Supermac’s managing director, Pat McDonagh, said that the judgment represents a victory for small businesses all over the world.
“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,” he said.
“The original objective of our application to cancel was to shine a light on the use of trademark bullying by this multinational to stifle competition.
“We have been saying for years that they have been using trademark bullying.
“They trademarked the SnackBox, which is one of Supermac’s most popular products, even though the product is not actually offered by them.”
He added: “This is the end of the McBully. This decision by the European Trademark Office is also an indication of how important the European institutions are to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals.”
- Press Association
Supermac's has won its long running case against McDonald's to have the use of the "Big Mac" trademark cancelled throughout Europe.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office has ruled that McDonald's had not proven genuine use of the contested trademark as a burger, or as a restaurant name.
The Irish fast food company had claimed that McDonald's engaged in "trademark bullying" by registering brand names only to store them away "in a war chest to use against future competitors."
Supermac's Managing Director Pat McDonagh is delighted with the ruling.
"We objected to their trademark for the Big Mac and that now has been decided by the European Union in Alicante and they have revoked the Big Mac trademark on the grounds that, for three counts really - first of all in relation to a burger, secondly a food item and thirdly for food services."
He said: "You either use it or lose it... you can't stash away all these trademarks...and have them in reserve or what they call trademark bullying to stop someone from doing something.
"This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trademark office to allow us to use our SuperMac as a burger across Europe."