Business Irish

Thursday 17 August 2017

Supermac's new bid to win brand war in EU

Pat McDonagh inside the O'Connell Street branch of Supermacs. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Pat McDonagh inside the O'Connell Street branch of Supermacs. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Gordon Deegan

The Supermac's snack box and curry chip could be on their way to China, Abu Dhabi and the streets of Tokyo.

However, before the Galway firm expands to Asia and the Middle East it has to win a Europe-wide brand war with fast food giant, McDonald's.

Earlier this year, McDonald's successfully opposed Supermac's plans to sell its snack box in the UK and Europe by blocking the firm securing a European trademark for its fast food products.

The decision allowed the firm to use its brand but not to use it to sell its products.

Supermac's had already confirmed its intention to appeal the decision and yesterday was the deadline for Supermac's to lodge its appeal documents.

However, instead of lodging the appeal Supermac's has withdrawn the appeal and lodged a fresh trademark application with the EU Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM)

Yesterday, Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh said: "I am very confident that this application will be successful. There is no reason why it shouldn't be.

"The ruling earlier this year wasn't logical in that allowed us to use the Supermac's brand but not allow us to use the brand to sell what we make."

He added: "We learned a lot from the last application and in order to put that into effect, we thought it better to reapply and discard the appeal."

Mr McDonagh said that the new application will have more focus on the products for which that Supermac's wants the trademark.

Mr McDonagh admitted that there may not be a decision from the OHIM for one year.

This means that McDonald's has blocked Supermac's overseas expansion plans for at least two years.

Mr McDonagh said that he has received six requests from people looking to set up Supermac's franchise operations in the UK, Eastern Europe, Abu Dhabi, China and Tokyo in the last couple of months.

He said that before he proceeds with the international franchisee operations, he wants to obtain the trademark for Supermac's fast food products in Europe.

He said: "Our plans are to open in Europe first and then further afield."

In January, the OHIM upheld the arguments by McDonald's that the use of the Supermac's brand when selling fast food would create confusion among the public across the EU outside Ireland between the firm's fast food products.

In opposing the Supermac's application, the American fast food giant was seeking to protect its registered trademarks around 'McDonald's', 'McFish', 'McMuffin', its 'McNuggets', 'McWrap' and other McDonald's products.

Irish Independent

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