Business Irish

Saturday 25 November 2017

'We will keep fighting' - Round two in international brand war between the snack box and the Big Mac begins

Pat McDonagh
Pat McDonagh

Gordon Deegan

It's round two in the international brand war between the snack box and the Big Mac.

This follows fast-food giant McDonald's looking to frustrate Supermac's expansion plans into Europe for a second time after formally objecting to the Galway firm using the Supermac's logo to sell its curry chips, snack box and other fast food in the EU outside Ireland.

The curry chip and snack box are synonymous with the Supermac's brand built up over almost 40 years by Ballinasloe former teacher and Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh.

However, McDonald's - which last year enjoyed global revenues of $25bn - appears determined to ensure that the Supermac's snack box is never sold in the EU outside Ireland.

McDonald's was successful earlier this year in opposing the Supermac's plan with the European Commission.

In a 24-page ruling, the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market (OHIM) at the Commission agreed with McDonald's that Supermac's application for a trademark was likely to cause confusion among the public over the two different fast food brands and their products.

Supermac's subsequently appealed the refusal but then withdrew the appeal and instead lodged a fresh application in May of this year with the OHIM.

The west of Ireland firm lodged the revised application after Mr McDonagh stated that the firm learned a lot from the European decision and adjusted its application accordingly.

Mr McDonagh told the Irish Independent yesterday that he wasn't surprised by the McDonald's objection. "It is par for the course. I haven't had a chance to read it as yet," he said.

Mr McDonagh is optimistic that the application will succeed this time, adding: "We will keep fighting until we succeed."

Any party wishing to object to the new trademark application had until next Wednesday to make a submission and with only days to go to the August 31 deadline and no other opposition recorded against Supermac's, McDonald's has registered its opposition to the Supermac's brand being used to sell its fast food.

In papers lodged with the OIHM in Alicante, Spain, McDonald's has confirmed it is basing its opposition to the Supermac's brand as "there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public" between the two brands.

The battle will now go into 2017 before a victor emerges. A spokesman for the OIHM said yesterday that a two-month cooling-off period will take place after August 31.

If the two parties can't reach an agreement, McDonald's has a further two months to give the reasons why it is opposing the trademark.

Supermac's will then have two months to respond before a decision is made.

Irish Independent

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