Sunday 15 September 2019

Supermac's hits back in McDonald's brand war

Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh
Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh

Gordon Deegan

Supermac's has claimed that the true motivation behind McDonald's opposition to it operating across Europe is to prevent it from becoming a real and substantial competitor to the fast food giant there.

That is according to the Galway based fast-food operator which has told the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that "given the success of Supermac's in Ireland and the UK, success in Europe would be highly achievable".

Supermac's claims McDonald's motivation in opposing its expansion is not to avoid confusion or injury between the two brands.

The claims are contained in a 51-page submission lodged by Supermac's to the EUIPO in the latest round of the brand wars between the two.

Supermac's founder Pat McDonagh said yesterday that he is "very optimistic" that the application will be successful, adding: "There is absolutely no likelihood of confusion now or in the future between the two brands."

Supermac's has told the EUIPO that its business "is iconic in Ireland and beloved of Irish people, many of whom now live abroad, including across Europe".

The firm states that expanding its brand into Europe "arises from a real commercial imperative".  It says the imperative to launch its brand in Europe "is in response to the growing demand by the emigrant Irish diaspora for access to products and services familiar to them at home in Ireland.

"Supermac's expansion into the wider European market would cater to this demand." 

Supermac's has been trying to operate its brand in Europe since 2014 and an earlier brand application was turned down in 2016 by the EUIPO after an objection by McDonald's.

Supermac's lodged a revised application in 2016 with McDonald's objecting once more.

Explaining the Supermac's name, the submission states that as a keen schoolboy footballer in the 1960s at the Carmelite College in Moate, Co Westmeath, Pat McDonagh's moniker was 'Supermac' which was a pun on his surname and the comic book character 'Superman' suggesting that, as a player, he had superpowers.

Supermac's argue that the two businesses have traded without confusion or any other mistake in Ireland for 40 years and in Northern Ireland for 11 years.

Supermac's claims that McDonald's opposition potentially constitutes an abuse of its dominant position in the European fast-food market in that it serves to prevent Supermac's entering the European market and freely competing with McDonald's there. McDonald's yesterday declined to comment on the Supermac's submission.

Irish Independent

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