Friday 24 January 2020

Big McWin for little guy as Supermac's favoured in ruling

Supermac’s Pat McDonagh
Supermac’s Pat McDonagh

It's been dubbed a corporate battle of David versus Goliath proportions - and yesterday David came out on top for a second time.

Irish fast-food chain Supermac's has been successful in gaining a landmark EU decision against McDonald's to partially cancel the 'Mc' trademark after the fast-food giant claimed exclusivity over the title.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has ruled McDonald's use of the prefix 'Mc' cannot be exercised at just McDonald's discretion but has to be subjected to a proof of use test to the EUIPO.

An assessment of proof of use conducted by the office on a range of McDonald's products found the fast-food giant should only use the prefix 'Mc' on chicken nuggets and single sandwiches.

Supermac's Ireland managing director Pat McDonagh said: "We're delighted with the latest decision by the EUIPO to remove McDonald's monopoly of the 'Mc' prefix.

"McDonald's tried to argue that because they had some products that started with 'Mc' that the term 'Mc' was so synonymous with them that they had the right to own and trademark.

"We are delighted... we can now say that we have rid Europe of the McDonald's self-styled monopoly of the term 'Mc'.

"They wanted to trademark the term 'Mc' for everything, but this judgment means they can't have it."

Earlier this year, Supermac's won a long-running case to have the Big Mac trademark cancelled. The company had previously stated McDonald's had trademarked the title 'SnackBox', one of Supermac's most popular dishes.

The US company had also registered titles such as 'Mac Internet' and 'Mac Country' along with other words containing 'Mc' prefixes.


"The judgment by the EUIPO is an indication of how important the European institutions are to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals," Mr McDonagh said.

"This... shows that just because McDonald's has deep pockets and we are relatively small, it doesn't mean we weren't going to fight our corner."

McDonald's has been contacted for a comment.

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