Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, January 17 (Reporter Zhao Manjun) Irish fast food
chain Super Mac Co. said on January 15 that the European
Union Intellectual Property Office (EU Intellectual Property Office) ruled to revoke the trademark of “Big Mac”
registered by McDonald’s in the EU, which lost the exclusive right to use the trademark.
McDonald’s responded that day, refusing to accept the verdict and preparing to file
a complaint. Since 1998, the company has trademarked its best-selling double-decker beef hambu
rger in Europe, including “Big Mac” and “BIG MAC” and “Grand Big Mac” variants. This ruling revokes the
registered trademark “BIG MAC” in English capital letters.
Super Mac applied to the European Intellectual Property Office to revoke
some of McDonald’s trademarks in 2017, citing McDonald’s
failure to “really use” registered trademarks. The latter last week ruled
that McDonald’s could not prove that it had “genuinely used” all registered tradema
rks in EU member states for five consecutive years, so it approved Super
Mac’s application to revoke the former “Big Mac” and other trademark registration.
SuperMac said that although no product was named after Big Mac, McDonald’s prevented the latte
r from expanding its business scale on the grounds that the English name of
Supermac was similar to Big Mac.
According to the company, after the ruling, in addition to McDonald’s, other
fast-food chains will be able to name their fast-food products “Big Mac” in the future.
In an e-mail to Reuters, Pat McDonald, founder of Super Mac, said, “The
company is happy to win the trademark (revocation) appl
ication.” Large enterprises will not be able to “bully” smaller competitors by
“using a large number of registered trademarks and then idling them”.
McDonald’s said in an e-mail to Bloomberg on the 15th that it was
“disappointed” with the ruling of the European Intelle
ctual Property Office and would appeal to the Alicante institution in Spain,
confident of “reversing the result”.
The multinational fast-food giant has previously submitted to the European
Intellectual Property Office (IPA) proof such as printed co
rporate webpages, posters, product packaging materials and employee testimony in an attempt to prove that
registered trademarks are “genuinely used” in business activities.
In its ruling, the European Intellectual Property Office said McDonald’s had to provide specific t
ypes of evidence to support employee testimony, which could not be used by
corporate websites, posters and packaging materials. In addition, the Intell
ectual Property Office is unable to judge whether or how consumers “buy”
products with specific trademarks from McDonald’s Web pages.