Big Mac v Supermac’s: McDonald’s loses EU trademark fight

Supermac's, a small Irish takeaway chain, has emerged victorious in a legal battle against McDonald's, allowing it to expand its presence across Europe.
The European court of justice ruled in favor of Supermac's, stripping McDonald's of the right to use the "Big Mac" trademark in the EU for chicken burgers.
This decision marks the end of a 17-year legal feud between the two fast-food giants.

Supermac's is also pursuing a similar case in the UK, with potential implications for its expansion into the British market.
The dispute originated in 2007 when Supermac's sought to trademark its name in the EU for restaurant operations, prompting McDonald's to oppose the application, citing potential customer confusion with its Big Mac burgers.
Despite a partial victory for McDonald's in 2016, Supermac's continued its legal pursuit, challenging the exclusive use of "Big Mac" by McDonald's in the EU. 

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) partially upheld Supermac's case in 2019, leading to the recent ruling by the ECJ. The court found that McDonald's had not demonstrated genuine use of the "Big Mac" trademark in connection with certain goods and services, ultimately delisting it as a trademarked restaurant name and restricting its use on poultry products. 

Supermac's founder, Pat McDonagh, hailed the ruling as a victory against trademark bullying by large corporations, emphasizing the significance of the decision for small businesses globally. In response, McDonald's maintained that the court's decision does not impact its right to use the "Big Mac" trademark and expressed its commitment to serving local communities across Europe. 

The ruling represents a significant milestone in the ongoing debate over trademark protection and competition in the fast-food industry, setting a precedent for the use of trademarks by multinational corporations.

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