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McDonald’s Loses “Big Mac” Trademark Case

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McDonald’s Loses “Big Mac” Trademark Case

McDonald’s Loses “Big Mac” Trademark Case

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McDonald’s, the fast food chain conglomerate, has been embroiled in a legal case over its monopoly of the name “Big Mac,” and reports now claim it has lost that case.

It is a case that has given small company owners a cause to be happy and even hopeful, one that was a battle waged in courthouses and by quick thinking lawyers looking to take down the other, verbally and usually with the help of a technicality. 

It is a case of heavy impact because the legal battle was fought between a multinational food company and a smaller business, a spec in the ether, so to speak.  

Small Company Versus Huge Company

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It was like a small cat facing down a leopard, it could have been eaten alive but that fact did not stop it from charging forward. The small cat here is Supermac’s and the leopard in this context is McDonald’s, everyone’s favorite. 

McDonald’s has had the Big Mac name trademarked in the EU since 1996, meaning other restaurants could not claim it as theirs. But things started to change in 2017 when Supermac’s challenged its claim to continued monopoly of the name. 

Supermac’s Demanded That McDonald’s Trademark Be Revoked

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Supermac’s claimed that McDonald’s was not using the name genuinely enough to have a monopoly over it. The smaller restaurant argued that the bigger fast-food chain should not have trademarked the phrase and should not be allowed to keep it. 

McDonald’s First Loss Was Not Much of a Loss

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The case dragged on for years, but in 2019, Supermac’s had a small win—like a concession to throw them off the mark. The same court that ruled in their favor also said that the disputed trademark could also be linked to McDonald’s poultry products and not just their red beef burgers. Unsatisfied with the verdict, Supermac’s challenged it again, claiming the exception should not be tolerated. This led the case to the European Court of Justice.

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Supermac’s Big Win

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The case was recently presented before the ECJ, and the court ruled in Supermac’s favor. The court restricted McDonald’s use of the “Mac” trademark in association with its poultry products and restaurants. McDonald’s can only use the name to discuss its red-meat burgers—which is what the Big Mac trademark was originally registered for.

A Real Loss For McDonald’s

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Thanks to the latest ruling, many McDonald’s restaurants throughout the European Union have lost the right they had to use the trademark name on their other products. With that monopoly gone, other companies, small and big alike, can decide to use the name and its popularity for their food items. It is one of the biggest losses McDonald’s has had to take in recent times. 

Supermac’s Thoughts Concerning the Ruling

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It is no secret that Supermac’s is elated with the win, and one official of the franchise has expressed gratitude for how things turned out. The official called it a great win for small businesses everywhere as it means courts will now take a more “common-sense” approach to how big companies monopolize trademarks. 

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Supermac’s Knew What They Were Getting Into

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It is hard to face down a behemoth like McDonald’s without knowing exactly what you’re doing. According to the official from Supermac, they were aware of the odds stacked against them in a case against such a large corporation. They knew it was a “David versus Goliath scenario,” but they loaded up their sling anyway and prepared for battle. 

Supermac’s Mission

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It is also difficult to fight such a high stakes battle without having a very good reason. According to Supermac’s official, the win was unexpected. What they were actually gunning for was to expose the trademark bullying perpetrated by McDonald’s in a bid to strangle competition. They have been doing it to Supermac’s, and now the smaller franchise is fighting back. 

Details About Supermac’s

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Supermac’s was created in 1978 in Galway and has been growing steadily enough to be classified as a threat to McDonald’s in Europe. They now have more than a hundred locations around Ireland but have always suffered from trademark filings because of how similar their name is to McDonald’s. 

There Have Been Other Cases Between Supermac’s and McDonald’s

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The two businesses had several clashes in court prior to this decisive one. In 2017, McDonald’s got permission to block Supermac’s attempts to register the name “Supermac’s” as a trademark in the EU. They were told they could not use the “Mac” name in a trademark, and it derailed their attempts to expand outside Ireland and the world at large. 

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Change Has Come

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This is what led to the ruling from the ECJ, and now Supermac has the go-ahead to trademark the “Supermac” name in the EU. It was not a case they won easily, but it has given other small businesses hope. They can challenge the bigger corporations and win, an encouraging message. 

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