23 January 2019

Big Mac trade mark case shows size doesn’t matter

In an article published by The Times, Gary Johnston and Laura West discuss the recent decision issued by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) revoking McDonald’s rights in its Big Mac trade mark. This has been widely publicised as a “David and Goliath” defeat and a “unique landmark decision”.

The challenger, SuperMac’s, an Irish fast-food chain, has certainly tried to paint that picture, making various claims including that it has triumphed over “the McBully”. However, as damaging as it may be to McDonald’s at this early stage, the decision fails to satisfy any of these claims just yet. While certainly an initial success for SuperMac’s, it is doubtful whether this single decision will mark the end of the dispute. Not only does McDonald’s have the right to appeal, there are various other avenues it could pursue in challenging SuperMac’s should it wish to do so.

It is likely that this is only the beginning of a much more interesting story. However, it is to be hoped that the publicity around the McDonald’s case has communicated a useful message about the care that should be taken when presenting evidence at the EUIPO, regardless of the assumed knowledge of that brand among the public.

To read The Times article in full click here.

If you have any questions about this article please contact Gary Johnston or Laura West.