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27th February 2019 | Paul Marmor | Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Commercial, EU
Due to a recent ruling by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”), any business across Europe is now permitted to use the name “Big Mac” on any of their products in stores. The change comes after the relatively small Irish restaurant chain, Supermac, won a long running battle against McDonald’s to have use of iconic Big Mac trademark cancelled across Europe.
The global powerhouse McDonald’s ultimately lost the case for their trade mark due to an inability to prove “genuine use”. The McDonald’s defence included providing print-outs of its websites, examples of advertisements and packaging, three signed affidavits from its executives, and a print out of its Wikipedia page as evidence that it sells Big Macs across the EU and deserves a trademark. This was not sufficient evidence in the case however and the EUIPO held that, “Even if the goods were offered for sale, there is no data about how long the products were offered on the given web page or in other ways, and there is no information of any actual sales taking place”.
In the end, McDonald’s lost their monopoly over the name Big Mac, which is sure to be a huge blow to the company due to Big Mac being considered one of the most easily recognisable brands on the planet. We are waiting on news of any appeal but for now the real question that we must ask ourselves is “can you call it a Big Mac if it has bacon?”
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