McDonald's Loses Exclusive 'Big Mac' Rights for Chicken Products in EU
McDonald's Loses Exclusive 'Big Mac' Rights for Chicken Products in EU

McDonald's has relinquished its exclusive right to the term "Big Mac" for chicken products in the European Union, following a ruling by the region's second-highest court. The Luxembourg-based General Court's decision represents a partial victory for Supermac's, an Irish fast-food chain, in an ongoing trademark dispute. Supermac's contested McDonald's usage of the Big Mac name for both beef and chicken offerings, arguing that the U.S. company hadn't authentically applied it to chicken items in the EU.

McDonald's had secured the Big Mac trademark in 1996 for meat and poultry goods. However, the General Court concluded that the company hadn't substantiated continuous chicken product usage within the EU over the previous five years.

Judges decreed, "McDonald's loses the EU trademark Big Mac in respect of poultry products."

Despite the setback, McDonald's asserted its ability to continue employing the Big Mac trademark for its core beef sandwich and the Chicken Big Mac variant.

"This decision will not in any way impact our ability to use or to protect the trademark against infringements," stated McDonald's.

Pat McDonagh, Supermac's Founder, hailed the ruling as a triumph for his company and potentially others, stating, "It does mean we can expand elsewhere with Supermac's across the EU, so that is a big win for us today."

The ruling serves as a cautionary reminder to trademark holders about the necessity of demonstrating active trademark usage, remarked Matthew Harris, an IP lawyer at Pinsent Masons. "This is a huge wakeup call, and owners of well-known trademarks cannot simply rest on the premise 'it is obvious the public know the brand and we have been using it'," he conveyed.

The decision is subject to appeal at the Court of Justice of the European Union, the highest court in the bloc.

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