Business Irish

Sunday 18 August 2019

'Small is no longer a disadvantage': Supermac's lovin' it after landmark ruling against McDonald's

‘Fighting our corner’: Supermac’s boss Pat McDonagh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
‘Fighting our corner’: Supermac’s boss Pat McDonagh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

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 it.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has ruled McDonald's' use of the prefix 'Mc' can't 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.

Managing director of Supermac's Ireland Ltd Pat McDonagh, who has been engaged in a long-running battle with McDonald's over trademarks, said yesterday: "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 that the EUIPO found in our favour and that 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 products.

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

Mr McDonagh said: "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.

"We can be proud to be part of a Europe in which all are equal. Small is no longer a disadvantage.

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

Mr McDonagh said the company is hoping to expand overseas in the next 12 months.

"We are targeting the UK first and especially London and the greater London area, as there is a huge Irish market over there."

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “The EUIPO upheld McDonald’s EU registration for the trademark “Mc” standing alone for certain core menu items which McDonald’s uses in connection with its famous family of Mc-prefixed trademarks.

"This decision does not impact McDonald’s ability to use its Mc-prefixed trademarks or other trademarks throughout Europe and the world, and McDonald’s will continue to enforce its rights. McDonald’s considers its family of Mc-prefixed trademarks to be among its most valuable assets as customers throughout the world immediately recognize these trademarks as being associated with great quality food offered by McDonald’s."

Irish Independent

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