McDonald’s loses Chicken Big Mac trademark in Europe

McDonald's loses Chicken Big Mac trademark in Europe
McDonald's loses Chicken Big Mac trademark in Europe

McDonald’s has lost a legal dispute against an Irish fast food chain. A top EU court ruled the global giant could not exclusively call its chicken burgers “Big Mac.”

McDonald’s lost a long-running European Union trademark battle over the Big Mac name as the result of a top EU court ruling on Wednesday.

The fast food giant lost the exclusive right to the name Big Mac for poultry products in Europe after five straight years of not using it, the Luxembourg-based General Court said, in a win for its Irish rival Supermac’s.

Big Day for Big Macs

The dispute began in 2017 when Supermac’s sought to have McDonald’s Big Mac trademark revoked in the EU as it sought to expand into other EU countries.

McDonald’s had contested the Supermac’s trademark, saying it would confuse customers due to the similarity with the Big Mac label.

The EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) at first partially agreed to Supermac’s request, but said that McDonald’s still held the rights to the trademark for beef and poultry meals and for restaurant and drive-in services.

But Wednesday’s court decision imposed restrictions on the US-based giant, saying that it could not use the trademark for poultry products such as chicken burgers.

“McDonald’s loses the EU trademark Big Mac in respect of poultry products,” the court ruled.

“McDonald’s has not proved genuine use within a continuous period of five years in the European Union in connection with certain goods and services,” it added.

Win for Irish chain

The Galway-based Supermac’s celebrated the decision, with the company’s managing director, Pat McDonagh, calling it a “common sense” ruling.

“This is a significant ruling that takes a common-sense approach to the use of trademarks by large multi-nationals. It represents a significant victory for small businesses throughout the world,” McDonagh said in a statement.

“The original objective of our application to cancel was to shine a light on the use of trademark bullying by this multinational to stifle competition,” he added.

He also told Ireland’s Newstalk Radio that the decision opened the way for Supermac’s to expand into other EU countries.

McDonald’s can still appeal the decision at the European Court of Justice, the highest legal chamber in the bloc.

The company said the ruling does not affect its right to use the Big Mac label.

“This decision will not in any way impact our ability to use or to protect the trademark against infringements,” the company said.

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