McDonalds hits back at Supermacs in battle over EU trademarks

Galway Daily news Supermac's wins major trademark battle with McDonald's

The latest round of fighting in Supermacs long running battle with McDonald’s over the Galway fast-food chain’s attempts to expand into Europe took place this week.

McDonalds filed a 40-page submission with the EU Intellectual Property Office seeking to prevent the Galway based fast-food chain from using the ‘Mac’ in Europe among other disputes.

Making its case earlier this year, Supermacs said that it had been operating under that name in Ireland for 40 years without any complaint from McDonald’s.

However, The Independent reports that McDonald’s claims that a long-standing co-existence with Supermacs and their brands in Ireland isn’t relevant to the case.

In May, Supermacs filed documents with the EUIPO pointing to areas where the two chains operate in close proximity without any confusion among customers, such as on the Headford road.

The US fast food chain also dismissed Supermacs’ argument that McDonald’s opposition was an abuse of its dominant market position in Europe.

Supermacs claimed that the real reason McDonald’s was opposed to their expansion had nothing to do with any trademark issue, but rather because they had the potential to be a competitor on the continent.

“Given the success of Supermac’s in Ireland and the UK, success in Europe would be highly achievable,” One submission claimed.

Pat and Una McDonagh, founders and owners of Supermacs, have been trying to expand into the European market since 2014, with no legal success.

Their first brand application was shot down by the EUIPO in 2016 after an objection by McDonald’s that customers would be confused by the two brands and their similarities.

The matter wasn’t left to lie there. A revised application was submitted in 2016 which was again opposed by McDonald’s on the grounds that it would infringe on their established trademarks.

Supermacs escalated in April last year by asking the regulator to immediately cancel McDonald’s trademark on the Big Mac, with Pat McDonagh saying that McDonald’s was engaged in trademark abuse by trademarking words like McKids, McFamily, McCountry, McWorld, McJob and McInternet.

“McDonald’s has literally registered the McWorld,” McDonagh said.

In its latest filing McDonald’s maintains that remains a likelihood of confusion between the two brands, and points the finger at Supermacs as having done nothing to address this.

Speaking to The Independent yesterday McDonagh said he is still confident of that Supermacs will be successful in their European application.

“Absolutely, if logic and common sense prevails. We should be successful. We await the decision of the EUIPO.”