Return of the 'Mc': Supermac's wins second trademark action against McDonald's

The boss of Supermac's has described their latest successful challenge to McDonald's trademarks as a "win for small businesses".

Return of the 'Mc': Supermac's wins second trademark action against McDonald's

The boss of Supermac's has described their latest successful challenge to McDonald's trademarks as a "win for small businesses".

The Irish fast-food chain had challenged McDonald's use of the 'Mc' prefix in trademarks.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) found that McDonald's can no longer exclusively use this prefix on several of its food items.

An assessment found the chain can only trademark it in relation to its chicken nuggets and on some sandwiches.

Managing Director Pat McDonagh said that McDonald's had initially objected to an attempt to register Supermac's as a trademark.

"During the course of our investigation, we found that they had registered in excess of 800 trademarks with the 'Mc' prefix," he said.

We contested that and said that unless you're using these trademarks, you can't be hoarding them as a war chest against other people.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “The EUIPO upheld McDonald’s EU registration for the trademark “Mc” standing alone for certain core menu items which McDonald’s uses in connection with its famous family of Mc-prefixed trademarks.

"This decision does not impact McDonald’s ability to use its Mc-prefixed trademarks or other trademarks throughout Europe and the world, and McDonald’s will continue to enforce its rights.

"McDonald’s considers its family of Mc-prefixed trademarks to be among its most valuable assets as customers throughout the world immediately recognize these trademarks as being associated with great quality food offered by McDonald’s.”

It's the second time Supermac's has been successful in a legal challenge against the fast-food giant, after winning a challenge to have the Big Mac trademark cancelled earlier this year.

The Co Galway-based restaurant chain challenged the worldwide burger chain to cancel the use of the Big Mac and Mc trademarks.

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”.

Subsequently, the EUIPO ruled in January that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of the contested trademark as a burger or as a restaurant name.

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 Great Britain and Europe.

More in this section

The Business Hub
Newsletter

News and analysis on business, money and jobs from Munster and beyond by our expert team of business writers.

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up