In January 2019, McDonald’s EU trademark registration “BIG MAC” was cancelled for non-use by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Supermac, a growing fast-food chain in Ireland, sought to cancel “BIG MAC” on the basis that it had not been put to use by McDonald’s in the EU five years following its registration. The conflict between McDonald’s and Supermac is not new. Supermac has faced opposition for its burger, the Mighty Mac, a sandwich similar to the Big Mac.
In an attempt to defeat the action, McDonald’s filed evidence of use including documents such as: brochures and printouts of advertising posters of BIG MAC sandwiches in German, French and English, website printouts, affidavits and images of packaging.
However, the EUIPO held that brochures, posters and packaging didn’t provide information as to who the products were offered or whether they led to purchases. In addition, the affidavits needed to be supported by other types of evidence which were not provided.
Furthermore, the website printouts from McDonald’s websites were considered insufficient to prove use as there was no place, time or extent of use, or whether placing an order was possible on the website.
The EUIPO upon viewing the evidence provided, revoked the registration entirely. This has been a significant decision for Supermac’s owner McDough who is able to now expand in the United Kingdom.
In the aftermath of the cancellation of the BIG MAC trademark, Burger King in Sweden featured menus with names such as “The Big Mac-ish but Flame-Grilled Of Course”, “The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was” and “The Kind of Like a Big Mac, but Juicier and Tastier”.
In this underdog story, where “supermacs” truly beat the “big”, we can’t help but relish the taste of a hamburger.
For more information about the cancellation of trademarks, please contact us.