Why not just anything can be a MACCOFFEE – EU court rules in favour of McDonald's trademark

Hayley Kirton
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The public has come to associate 'Mc' or 'Mac' plus food with McDonald's (Source: Getty)

Fast food mainstay McDonald's today received a boost to its branding, after a Singapore rival failed in a bid to secure rights to the MACCOFFEE trademark.

The General Court of the European Union decided that Future Enterprises' EU trademark application for MACCOFFEE could not be approved because of an earlier trademark application made by McDonald's, which covered the affixing of 'Mc' or 'Mac' to various food stuffs.

In particular, the court noted that the public was familiar with the 'Mc' at the beginning of McDonald's products and had grown to associate it with the fast food giant's offerings.

The court also ruled that the proposed trademark could have unfairly piggybacked on McDonald's reputation.

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"Indeed, it is highly probable that MACCOFFEE rides on the coat-tails of McDonald’s in order to benefit from its power of attraction, its reputation and its prestige, and exploits, without paying any financial compensation, the marketing effort made by McDonald’s in order to create and maintain its image," a statement published alongside the judgment read. "Thus, upon seeing the MACCOFFEE trademark affixed to goods closely linked to those of McDonald’s, the relevant public could mentally establish a link between the trade marks at issue and could transfer the image of the McDonald’s trade marks to the goods covered by MACCOFFEE."

This most recent decision upholds the European Union Intellectual Property Office's 2013 rejection of the trademark for the Singapore company.

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