No more chicken Big Macs - EU court rules against McDonald's in trademark case

McDonald's MCD.N does not have the right to use the term "Big Mac" for poultry products in Europe after not using it for them for five consecutive years, the region's second top court said on Wednesday, a partial win for Irish rival Supermac's in a long-running trademark dispute.
McDonald's in trademark case:- McDonald's MCD.N does not have the right to use the term "Big Mac" for poultry products in Europe after not using it for them for five consecutive years [VOA]
McDonald's in trademark case:- McDonald's MCD.N does not have the right to use the term "Big Mac" for poultry products in Europe after not using it for them for five consecutive years [VOA]

McDonald's in trademark case:- McDonald's MCD.N does not have the right to use the term "Big Mac" for poultry products in Europe after not using it for them for five consecutive years, the region's second top court said on Wednesday, a partial win for Irish rival Supermac's in a long-running trademark dispute.

The Luxembourg-based General Court's ruling centered on Supermac's attempt in 2017 to revoke McDonald's use of the name Big Mac, which the U.S. company had registered in 1996 for meat and poultry products and services rendered at restaurants.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) dismissed Supermac's application for revocation and confirmed McDonald's use of the term for meat and chicken sandwiches, prompting the Irish company to challenge the decision.

Supermac's, which opened its first restaurants in Galway in 1978 and had sought to expand in the United Kingdom and Europe, sells beef and chicken burgers as well as fried chicken nuggets and sandwiches.

The General Court rejected McDonald's arguments and partially annulled and altered EUIPO's decision.

"McDonald's loses the EU trade mark Big Mac in respect of poultry products," judges 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."

The U.S. fast-food chain said in an email it can still continue to use the Big Mac trademark, which it uses chiefly for a beef sandwich.

Supermac's founder Pat McDonagh told Ireland's Newstalk Radio that the decision was "a big win for anyone with the surname Mac."

"It does mean we can expand elsewhere with Supermac’s across the EU, so that is a big win for us today," he told the radio station.

Trademark owners should pay attention to the ruling, said Pinsent Masons IP lawyer Matthew Harris.

"This is a huge wakeup call and owners of well-known trademarks cannot simply rest on the premise 'it is obvious the public know the brand and we have been using it'," he said.

"The case highlights that even global renowned brands are held to the same scrutiny when having to evidence genuine use of a trademark in a given territory."

The ruling can be appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Europe's highest. VOA/SP

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