Supermac's takes bite back at McDonald's in trademark battle
Supermac's has made its first substantial move against McDonald's after suffering a blow in the international trademark war between the two fast food firms earlier this year.
The Irish firm has formally submitted a request to the European Union Property Office (EUIPO) to cancel the use of the Big Mac and Mc trademarks that McDonald's has registered in certain classes.
Supermac's asked the EU regulator that this take effect immediately on the basis McDonald's is engaged in "trademark bullying; registering brand names which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors".
"This means that if any McGrath, McCarthy or McDermott with a business idea uses their name in the title of that business or product, the chances are McDonald's already owns the trademark and you can probably expect a knock on the door from them," Supermac's managing director Pat McDonagh told the Irish Independent.
In February, McDonald's hit the family-owned company with a 41-page objection against its plans to use the Supermac's name in Europe, stating that it would "take unfair advantage of the distinctive character and repute of" trademarks previously won by the global restaurant giant.
The US firm partly based its objection on already secured trademarks for its products such as the 'Big Mac' and 'Chicken McNuggets', claiming introducing Supermac's into the market would cause confusion.
Founded by former teacher Mr McDonagh in 1978 in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Supermacs - known for the Mighty Mac double burger and the Chicken Snack Box - now pulls in revenues of around €100m.
If the objections of McDonald's - which recorded revenues of more than €7.5bn in Europe alone in 2013 - are successful, Supermac's' planned expansion in the UK, EU and Australia will be halted.
"McDonald's has literally registered the McWorld. It is trying to make sure that every word in the English language belongs to them if there is prefix Mc or Mac put in front of it," Mr McDonagh said.
Mr McDonagh said McDonald's had trademarked SnackBox which is one of his company's most popular products and said the product was not offered by the US firm.
The request by Supermac's - submitted yesterday - will be reviewed by the EUIPO and McDonald's will be given time to respond and/or object to the application.
A spokesperson for McDonald's said last night it was unaware of any new action by Supermac's.
"However, as with all companies around the world, McDonald's defends the values of our brand, including our trademarks, to protect consumers against confusion and prevent others from taking unfair advantage of our trademarks," the spokesperson said.