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McDonald’s Loses Its ‘Big Mac’ Trademark Case To Irish Fast Food Brand
By Yoon Sann Wong, 16 Jan 2019
Image via Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
The rights to trademark “Big Mac” has eluded McDonald’s Corp after a European Union case ruled in favor of Ireland-based fast food chain Supermac’s.
The verdict, which was provided to Reuters by Supermac’s, repealed McDonald’s registration of the trademark, explaining that the Golden Arches had not established authentic use of it over the five years before the case was made in 2017.
This ruling will not only allow McDonald’s as well as other brands to use “Big Mac” within the EU, but also open the doors for Supermac’s to expand within the UK and Europe.
The ‘Big Mac’ is one of McDonald’s most iconic burgers, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in a nostalgic throwback campaign.
Even though Supermac’s has never had any product called “Big Mac,” McDonald’s had apparently used the likeness the two names to obstruct the Irish chain’s growth.
In an email to Reuters, founder Pat McDonagh expressed the brand’s delight over the win in this trademark case and “in revoking the Big Mac trademark which had been in existence since 1996.”
He added, “This is a great victory for business in general and stops bigger companies from ‘trademark bullying’ by not allowing them to hoard trademarks without using them.”
Spain-based EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) concluded that the evidence provided by McDonald’s, such as printouts of European websites, posters, packaging, and affidavits from company representatives verifying ‘Big Mac’ sales in Europe, were insufficient to support its case.
Based on the website printouts “it could not be concluded whether, or how, a purchase could be made or an order could be placed,” explained the EUIPO. It added that “[e]ven if the websites provided such an option, there is no information of a single order being placed.”
It’s rare for McDonald’s, which is “extremely litigious” in the sector of trademark law, to lose, commented University of Connecticut law professor Willajeanne McLean.
According to Reuters, McDonald’s successfully won a court order in 1993 that prevented a dentist in NYC from selling services under “McDental.” In 2016, a Singapore company was barred from registering “MACCOFFEE” as a EU trademark.
Late last year, McDonald’s also claimed that a burger chain’s alpaca burger called ‘Big Pac’ infringed upon its ‘Big Mac’.
[via Reuters, main image via Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com]
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