Irish restaurant chain in the right: McDonald’s suffers defeat in trademark dispute over “Big Mac”

Irish restaurant chain in law
McDonald’s suffers defeat in trademark dispute over “Big Mac”

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The McDonald’s Big Mac comes in different variations. The burger is even an indicator of a country’s purchasing power. The fast-food giant holds the naming rights – but in future only for the classic beef version.

McDonald’s has suffered a defeat in the trademark dispute over the “Big Mac” before the EU court in Luxembourg. The court decided that trademark protection will be further restricted. The fast-food company will therefore lose the European trademark rights to the “Big Mac” for poultry products. (Ref. T-58/23)

MC Donalds
MC Donalds 242.00

McDonald’s had not provided any evidence that the trademark had been used continuously for five years, the court justified its ruling. The dispute had already begun in 2017. At that time, the Irish fast-food chain Supermac’s filed an application with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to delete the “Big Mac” trademark in the EU.

The EUIPO partially granted the application at the beginning of 2019. However, it maintained trademark protection for poultry products, among other things. Supermac’s turned to the EU court, which has now overturned the EUIPO’s decision and partially amended it. It found, for example, that McDonald’s had not provided sufficient evidence of using the “Big Mac” trademark for chicken sandwiches. Information on sales volumes, among other things, was missing.

EU trademark rights, so-called Union trademarks, are valid throughout the European Union and exist alongside national trademarks. McDonalds can still appeal against the ruling before the next higher instance, the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The “Big Mac” has become so popular that its price can now be used as an economic indicator. The British newspaper “The Economist” invented it to provide an easy-to-understand comparison for a country’s purchasing power.

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