McDonald’s Loses Trademark Rights to “Big Mac” for Poultry Products

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The Luxembourg-based General Court found that McDonald's cannot use the trademark "Big Mac" for poultry products
The Luxembourg-based General Court found that McDonald's cannot use the trademark "Big Mac" for poultry products

In a significant legal decision, the Luxembourg-based General Court has ruled that McDonald’s cannot use the trademark “Big Mac” for poultry products in the European Union.

This ruling marks a partial victory for Irish fast-food chain Supermac’s in a long-standing trademark dispute.

Background behind the Issue:

The dispute began in 2017 when Supermac’s sought to revoke McDonald’s use of the “Big Mac” trademark, which the U.S. company had registered in 1996 for meat and poultry products and restaurant services.

Supermac argued that McDonald’s had not utilized the term for poultry products for five consecutive years, thereby forfeiting the right to trademark these items.

Initial Ruling:

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) initially dismissed Supermac’s application for revocation, affirming McDonald’s use of the “Big Mac” trademark for meat and chicken sandwiches.

Dissatisfied with this decision, Supermac challenged the ruling, bringing the case before the General Court.

General Court’s Decision:

The General Court rejected McDonald’s defense and partially annulled and altered the EUIPO’s decision.

The judges ruled that McDonald’s had not demonstrated genuine use of the “Big Mac” trademark for poultry products within a continuous five-year period in the European Union. Consequently, the court determined that McDonald’s lost the EU trademark “Big Mac” concerning poultry products.

This ruling is a notable win for Supermac’s, which opened its first restaurant in Galway in 1978 and offers a variety of beef and chicken burgers, fried chicken nuggets, and sandwiches.

The decision restricts McDonald’s from using the “Big Mac” name for its poultry products, potentially impacting its branding and marketing strategies in the European market.

Future Prospects:

McDonald’s can appeal the ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Europe’s highest court. The outcome of any potential appeal could further influence trademark law and brand protection practices within the EU.

James Adam

James Adam, a noted business writer for CEO Times Magazine, specializes in insightful industry analysis and executive profiles. Known for his clear, concise style, James offers readers an expert perspective on global business trends and market dynamics.

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