McDonald’s will lose the exclusive rights to its eponymous Big Mac burger as European regulators yesterday found in favour of Irish chain Supermac’s.
The David against Goliath battle culminated in a decision by the EU Intellectual Property Office, finding that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of the trademark for the last five years.
The ruling will allow other companies to sell burgers named Big Mac across the trade bloc.
Supermac’s, which celebrated on Twitter with a happy emoji, said McDonalds had blocked it from expanding into the UK and Europe.
The Irish joint said that while it does not sell a Big Mac burger, the business's name was enough for McDonald's to file for trademark infringement, which has a history of enforcing its trademarks.
A New York Dentist was blocked from opening the McDental clinic in 1993, while an attempt to register Maccoffee as an EU trademark was defeated in 2016.
“Supermac’s are delighted with their victory in the trademark application and in revoking the Big Mac trademark which had been in existence since 1996,” founder Pat McDonagh told Reuters.
“This is a great victory for business in general and stops bigger companies from ‘trademark bullying’ by not allowing them to hoard trademarks without using them.”
Known around the world, the Big Mac has been used by The Economist since 1986 as a way to compare global consumer prices.
The latest figures from the Big Mac Index, released earlier this month, indicate that sterling is 27 per cent undervalued against the US dollar. The burgers cost £3.19 in the UK and $5.58 in the US, the index said.
The most undervalued currency against the dollar is the Russian rouble, while the Swiss franc is the most overvalued.