Supermacs has won its David versus Goliath battle with fast food giant McDonald's to have the use of the iconic Big Mac trademark cancelled.
In what is being seen as a landmark judgment by European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the office said that the multinational had not proven genuine use of the contested trademark as a burger or as a restaurant name.
The judgement states that there was no evidence provided by McDonald's that refers to genuine use.
“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 is registered. 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, as of 11/04/2017," said the ruling.
Supermacs had formally submitted a request to EUIPO to cancel the use of the Big Mac and Mc trademarks that McDonald’s has registered in certain classes.
The company asked the EU regulator that this take effect immediately on the basis that McDonald’s is engaged in "trademark bullying; registering brand names which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors.”
McDonald's had previously succeeded in putting a stop to Supermac’s plans to expand into the UK and Europe on the basis of the similarity between the name Supermac’s and the Big Mac.
This EUIPO judgement means that the main argument put forward by the US company is now gone.
Reacting to the ruling, Supermacs managing director Pat McDonagh the judgment was a victory for small businesses around the globe.
“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."
"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,” he said.
Mr McDonagh also highlighted the fact that McDonald's had trademarked the SnackBox - one of Supermac's most popular products - even though it had never offered the product in any of its outlets.
Mr McDonagh said the victory represented "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."
"We can be proud to be part of a Europe in which all are equal. Small is no longer a disadvantage. We wholeheartedly welcome this judgement as a vindication of small businesses everywhere that stand up to powerful global entities," he said.