The recent judgement handed down by the the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO ) in favour of Supermac's against McDonald's over the use of the prefix 'Mc' has been hailed as "a vindication of small businesses everywhere that stand up to powerful global entities" by managing director of Supermac's, Pat McDonagh.
The EUIPO ruled that McDonald’s use of the prefix 'Mc' cannot be exercised at McDonald’s discretion but has to be subjected to a proof of use test as requested in a submission by Supermac’s to EUIPO. An assessment of proof of use conducted by the office on a whole range of McDonald’s products has found that McDonald’s can now only legitimately use the prefix 'Mc' on a chicken nugget and a single sandwich.
Mr McDonagh, said that the latest judgement represented a victory for small businesses all over the world.
“We are delighted with the latest decision by the EUIPO to remove McDonald’s monopoly of the Mc prefix. 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 Mc. 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.
“They wanted to trademark the term Mc for everything, but this judgment means they can’t have it. The EUIPO agreed with us that they cannot trademark the term Mc just because they are McDonald’s. This latest decision by the EUIPO shows that but just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small, it doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner. 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 corporate colonialism of trying to take ownership of Mc is now over.
“The judgment by the EUIPO is also an indication of how important the European institutions are to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals. We can be proud to be part of a Europe in which all are equal. Small is no longer a disadvantage. We wholeheartedly welcome this judgement as a vindication of small businesses everywhere that stand up to powerful global entities.”
It is the second legal battle the Galway owned company has won against McDonald's this year after the EUIPO found in Supermac's favour over the “big mac” trademark in Europe.