Sunday 16 June 2019

Tasty result for Supermac's with 'David and Goliath' Big Mac win

Winning feeling: Pat McDonagh inside the O’Connell Street branch of Supermac’s. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Winning feeling: Pat McDonagh inside the O’Connell Street branch of Supermac’s. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Gordon Deegan and Louise Kelly

It's been compared to David vs Goliath, or Connacht beating the All Blacks.

A stunning legal victory over McDonald's means the renowned Supermac's snack box and curry chips could soon be available in continental Europe.

The global fast-food giant lost its long-running battle against Supermac's concerning the iconic 'Big Mac' trademark, with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) dismissing Wikipedia-based evidence put forward by McDonald's.

The row regarding the Big Mac trademark is part of a wider trademark row between the two companies, with McDonald's objecting to Supermac's using its own branding across Europe, specifically the 'Mac' part.

In the ruling from EUIPO, the court said the US multinational had not proven genuine use of the contested trademark Big Mac as a burger or as a restaurant name.

As part of its submission claiming 'proof of use' of the Big Mac, McDonald's submitted a printout from en.wikipedia.org, providing information on the Big Mac hamburger, its history, content and nutritional values in different countries.

Separately, McDonald's also claimed significant sales figures in relation to Big Mac sandwiches between 2011 and 2016 along with brochures and printouts of advertising posters, in German, French and English, showing Big Mac meat sandwiches.

In its detailed ruling, the EUIPO states that having examined the material listed in its entirety, the Cancellation Division finds that the evidence is insufficient to establish genuine use of the trademark.

The EUIPO also stated it couldn't accept the Wikipedia evidence as "independent evidence".

McDonald's previously hit Supermac's 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 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 for consumers.

Speaking following the decision, Supermac's managing director Pat McDonagh said the judgment represented a victory for small businesses all over the world.

"Never mind David versus Goliath, this unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks," he said.

"This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trademark office to allow us to use our Supermac's as a burger across Europe.

"We are going to continue to pursue that," said Mr McDonagh.

McDonald's said it had no comment to make and is considering its position.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News