Irish chain Supermac's claims victory over McDonald's in trademark battle

Irish chain Supermac's claims victory over McDonald's in trademark battle

IRISH fast food chain Supermac's has claimed victory in a trademark dispute with global giant McDonald's.

A ruling from Europe's General Court means McDonald's can no longer exclusively use the Big Mac term in the EU in relation to chicken sandwiches, poultry products or restaurants.

Supermac's founder Joe McDonagh said the ruling represented a victory for small businesses, while McDonald's said it did not affect its right to use the Big Mac trademark.


McDonald's, which introduced its Big Mac hamburger in the 1960s, registered the Big Mac trademark in Europe in 1996.

In 2017, Supermac's applied to have the trademark revoked, claiming it had not been genuinely put to use for all the goods and services for which it was registered.

Two years later, the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) partially ruled in favour of Supermac's, allowing the Irish chain to use the term on food products.

However, McDonald's was able to continue using Big Mac for some products and services.

Supermac's challenged the decision and the Central Court — a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union — has partly ruled in its favour.

The court ruled McDonald's could not show genuine use of the trademark in the EU for a continuous period of five years for chicken sandwiches, poultry products or restaurants.

The decision could see Supermac's — which has more than 100 restaurants across Ireland — expand into Britain and Europe.

'David v Goliath'

Mr McDonagh, who founded Supermac's in Co. Galway in 1976, described the ruling as a 'significant victory'.

"This is a significant ruling that takes a common-sense approach to the use of trademarks by large multi-nationals," he said.

"It represents a significant victory for small businesses throughout the world.

"We knew when we took on this battle that it was a David versus Goliath scenario."

Meanwhile, a statement from McDonald's read: "The decision by the EU General Court does not affect our right to use the 'Big Mac' trademark.

"Our iconic Big Mac is loved by customers all across Europe, and we’re excited to continue to proudly serve local communities, as we have done for decades."