Supermac's, the Irish fast-food chain founded by Pat McDonagh in Galway, has largely succeeded in blocking a London bar called Supermax from registering its name in the UK.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled that "Supermax" appears similar and sounds identical to the existing Supermac's mark and could confuse consumers.
The office made the ruling as both would involve the service of food and drink, and custom is likely to depend on promotional materials and street signage. Its decision was made on March 19 but was only made public last week.
However, the UKIPO decision on Supermax won't be final until the trademark dispute between McDonald's and Supermac's has concluded. The long-running conflict between the two firms is partially related to the "Mc" prefix on products.
Last year, Supermac's convinced the European Union Intellectual Property Office to cancel McDonald's Big Mac trademark. It followed the US fast-food giant trying to block the European Union trademark of Supermac's as it plotted expansion in the UK. McDonald's has appealed to EU courts, and Supermac's EU registration remains pending.
According to Bloomberg Law, in the Supermax dispute, both Supermax and Supermac's claim their marks for a class that covers services for providing food and drinks.
The Supermax services list included additional descriptions for services such as "bar services" and "booking of restaurant seats". The UKIPO decided that the majority of its functions were close enough for conflict.
It also deemed the argument of R7 Restaurants - which operates Supermax - that it operated the bar in a different location to the burger chain, to be irrelevant.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, McDonagh was happy with the result.
He added that the company had "bigger fish to fry" at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen Supermac's temporarily shut down outlets. "This is unprecedented," he said. "No one could have prepared for this, and it will take time to recover."
Sunday Indo Business