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Supermac's wins judgment cancelling trademark of most 'Mc' foods in Europe

The ‘Mc’ prefix can now only be legitimately used by McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and sandwiches.

Irish fast food chain Supermac's.
Irish fast food chain Supermac's.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IRISH FAST FOOD chain Supermac’s has won a landmark ruling against McDonald’s to cancel the ownership of the ‘Mc’ trademark in the EU.

The judgment from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) revoked McDonald’s ‘Mc’ trademark on all foods except chicken nuggets and sandwiches. 

This decision was made on 31 July. 

The use of this prefix now has to go through a proof of use test, as requested by Supermac’s. The EUIPO is the agency through which trade marks and designs are registered in the European Union. 

Managing Director of Supermac’s Ireland Pat McDonagh welcomed the ruling and said the company is tired of “trademark bullying”. 

“McDonald’s tried to argue that because they had some products that started with Mc that the term Mc was so synonymous with them that they had the right to own and trademark,” McDonagh said in a statement. 

“We are delighted that the EUIPO found in our favour and that we can now say that we have rid Europe of the McDonald’s self-styled monopoly of the term Mc.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson said the company considers its ‘Mc’ products to be “among its most valuable assets” due to customer recognition. 

“This decision does not impact McDonald’s ability to use its Mc-prefixed trademarks or other trademarks throughout Europe and the world, and McDonald’s will continue to enforce its rights,”  the spokesperson said.   

The EUIPO ruled in January that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of its Bic Mac trademark as a burger or as a restaurant. They cancelled the use of this trademark in Europe.

This decision was appealed by McDonald’s in March. 

Supermac’s had originally taken the case against McDonald’s after it was blocked from registering its name as a trademark in European countries outside of Ireland due to an objection by McDonald’s. 

“This latest decision by the EUIPO shows that just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small , it doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner,” McDonagh said. 

We had enough of this trademark bullying and thankfully a mechanism existed whereby McDonald’s will now have to cancel trademarks that they were warehousing as ammunition in a future trade war.

The businessman added that this judgment was a “vindication of small businesses everywhere”. 

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