McDonald’s loses the ‘Big Mac’ trademark

The giant of fast-food industry McDonald’s has lost its trademark “Big Mac” in EU case in favor of Irish fast food chain called Supermac’s.

Managing director of the Irish food chain Pat McDonagh received his nickname Supermac back in 1960, while being a teenager he led his team to a victory in Gaelic football match.  It must be a taste of victory he felt back then which is guiding him through life till now.

Pat McDonagh brought the case before the EU regulator two years ago, claiming that McDonald’s had not properly registered its ‘Big Mac’ trademark. Last week the European Union Intellectual Property Office accepted the claim.

McDonald’s trademarked the “Big Mac” in Europe in 1996 as a burger or restaurant name. Even though McDonald’s representatives claimed that Supermac’s was too similar to the ‘Big Mac’ burgers, they failed to show that it had been “put to genuine use in the union for the goods or services for which it is registered”. McDonald’s was disappointed with the EUIPO’s decision and said that they intend to appeal the decision. It was an undesirable loss for a company with annual revenue of nearly $22.8 billion.

Supermac’s managing director proclaimed the “end of the McBully”. He stated that “this is a victory for all small businesses. It prevents bigger companies from hoarding trademarks with no intention of using them.” Also, Mr.McDonagh revealed that the US chain trademarked the term “SnackBox” – the Supermac’s most popular products, which McDonald’s does not use. “If you have a registered trademark, you have to use it or lose it,” said Glen Gibbons, an Irish barrister and expert on intellectual property.

This is not the first case that McDonald’s have to respond to. In 2009, a Malaysian chain won the right to be called McCurry, but it took them 8 years of continuous battle with the global fast-food chain.

Indeed, this case is significant as it shows that the EU ensures a fair hearing, no matter how many billions the Corporation’s annual income and influence in the world are.

Source: The Guardian

Please contact Katsiaryna with any IP related matters:

 Katsiaryna Pazniak

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