Business Irish

Saturday 18 November 2017

Europe gives Supermacs extra time in McDonald's trademark battle

Pat McDonagh inside the O'Connell Street branch of Supermacs. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Pat McDonagh inside the O'Connell Street branch of Supermacs. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gordon Deegan

Supermacs' boss Pat McDonagh has sought extra time in his battle with McDonalds over using the the Supermac's name across the EU.

Mr McDonagh was due to file his detailed response by next Tuesday to McDonalds' 41-page objection to the Supermac's name being used in the UK and continental Europe in the international trademark war between the two fast food firms.

In response to the request made by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys on behalf of Supermacs for more time, the European Commission's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market has extended the time for its submission to June 28.

However, the office has warned Supermacs that "a subsequent request for an extension of the same time limit will be refused unless there are exceptional circumstances which justify this further extension".

The office states that "the exceptional circumstances will have to be duly explained and justified".

In an interview yesterday, Mr McDonagh said his firm has sought the extension as it is currently gathering information to rebut the claims made by McDonalds under the various headings of logo and colours.

Mr McDonagh said that he is "very optimistic" that this firm will prevail in the case.

He said: "We will be giving it our best shot.

"There has been no confusion in Ireland over the past 35 years between the two brands so I can't see how there can be any confusion elsewhere."

Mr McDonagh said he has had no communication with McDonalds since the fast food giant hit Supermac's in February with its lengthy objection against its plans to use its name in Europe.

McDonald's has also put on hold plans by the Galway-based firm to use the Supermac's name in Australia by objecting to its trade-mark there.

Seeking to protect its European-wide business from Supermac's, McDonald's state that the Irish firm using the name Supermac's in the EU would "take unfair advantage of the distinctive character and repute of" McDonalds's earlier won trademarks. The US giant is basing part of its objection on the trademarks it has already secured for its 'Big Mac', 'Chicken McNuggets', 'McMuffin', 'McFlurry' and 'McFish' and claims that the application to register 'Supermac's' is likely to create confusion in relation to McDonald's trademark products.

In its objection, McDonald's argue that there is visual similarity between the two trademarks as they share the phonetically, visually and conceptually identical element of 'Mc/Mac'.

Mr McDonagh said that 2015 "is building up to be a good year for the business. It is so far so good".

Irish Independent

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