Wednesday 18 January 2017

McDonald's confident in battle with Supermac's

Gordon Deegan

Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30

Catriona O’Meara, Alison Hodgson, Dominik Grygielewicz and Jenny Grant of McDonald’s Ireland. McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland recently announced that its workforce here has reached 5,000 employees across 90 restaurants. The fast-food giant says it is committed to lifelong learning, and 95pc of its restaurant managers starting off as crew members. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennells
Catriona O’Meara, Alison Hodgson, Dominik Grygielewicz and Jenny Grant of McDonald’s Ireland. McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland recently announced that its workforce here has reached 5,000 employees across 90 restaurants. The fast-food giant says it is committed to lifelong learning, and 95pc of its restaurant managers starting off as crew members. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennells

Fast food giant McDonald's is confident that its 'Big Mac' will prevail over Supermac's snack box in the firms' European brand war.

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Last month, the US firm, which operates one of the best known brands in the world, lodged an objection against Supermac's revised application to use its name to sell its famous snack boxes, curry chips and other fast-food products outside Ireland in the EU.

McDonald's recorded revenues of $7.8bn (€6.9bn) across Europe in 2014 and is making sure that any competition to its business by the Galway-based Supermac's across the UK and mainland Europe never gets off the ground.

In a statement yesterday, McDonald's Europe explained why it lodged its objection to Supermac's application to register its trademark to sell fast food outside Ireland in Europe.

In the statement, McDonald's Europe stated: "The McDonald's brand is a vitally important asset for our business and sometimes we have to take carefully considered and appropriate steps to make sure that it is protected. We are confident that our position will be upheld in this instance."

Already, McDonald's has frustrated Supermac's expansion plans into Europe. Earlier this year, the European Commission's Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market (OHIM) upheld the McDonald's objection.

In a 24-page ruling, the OHIM agreed with McDonald's that Supermac's application for a trademark was likely to cause confusion among the public over the two different fast food brands and their fast-food products.

Supermac's appealed the refusal but then withdrew the appeal and instead lodged a fresh application in May of this year with the OIHM.

The west of Ireland firm lodged the revised application after Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh stated that the firm learned a lot from the European decision and adjusted its application accordingly.

However, McDonald's - which last year enjoyed global revenues of $25bn - appears determined to ensure that the Supermac's snack box is never sold in the EU outside Ireland.

Mr McDonagh has already stated that he is optimistic that the application will succeed this time around. He said: "We will keep fighting until we succeed."

In papers lodged with the OIHM at Allicante, Spain, McDonald's has confirmed that it is basing its opposition to the Supermac's brand as "there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public" between the two brands.

The battle will now go into 2017 before a winner emerges.

The process has now entered a two month cooling off period where if the two parties can't reach an agreement, McDonald's then have a further two months to give the reasons as to why it is opposing the trademark.

Supermac's will then have two months to respond before a decision is made.

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