McDonald’s loses ‘Big Mac’ trademark case to Irish chain Supermac’s

McDonalds McDonald's
The logo of U.S. company McDonald's is pictured in Rome, Italy August 16, 2018. (Max Rossi/Reuters photo)

ALICANTE, Spain (Reuters) — McDonald’s Corp has lost its rights to the trademark “Big Mac” in a European Union case ruling in favor of Ireland-based fast-food chain Supermac’s. That is according to a decision from the EU’s Spain-based Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The judgment, provided to Reuters by Supermac’s, revoked McDonald’s registration of the trademark, saying that the world’s largest fast-food chain had not proven genuine use of it over the five years prior to the case being lodged in 2017.

The EUIPO did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment.

McDonald’s was not immediately available to comment on the decision. The decision said the company can still appeal.

With the revocation, Supermac’s said it can now expand in the United Kingdom and Europe. The ruling also allows the Irish chain to use the “Big Mac” name on any food items it will sell.

Supermac’s said it had never had a product called “Big Mac” and that McDonald’s had just used the similarity of the two names to block the Irish chain’s expansion.

“Supermac’s are delighted with their victory in the trademark application and in revoking the Big Mac trademark which had been in existence since 1996,” founder Pat McDonagh told Reuters in an email.

“This is a great victory for business in general and stops bigger companies from “trademark bullying” by not allowing them to hoard trademarks without using them.”

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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