IRISH FAST FOOD brand Supermac’s has accused rival McDonald’s of “trademark bullying” as part of a bid to stop the US chain from using its ‘Mc’ name.
The Galway-based company, owned by Pat and Una McDonagh, has asked the EU Intellectual Property Office to cancel McDonald’s ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’ trademarks for certain classes of use.
It follows the US fast food giant’s partial success in blocking Supermac from using its own name across Europe for a range of food and drink-related products.
McDonald’s had argued that there was a “likelihood of confusion” if Supermac’s was allowed a trademark in Europe, adding that it had already reserved names like McFish, McToast, McCountry and numerous other derivatives of Mc.
The two companies had signs that were considered similar, with McDonald’s Big Mac and Supermac’s name deemed too close.
Supermac’s today said it, in response, had asked the EU IP authority to block McDonald’s from using the terms on the basis it was ”engaged in trademark bullying by registering brand names which are nothing to do with them, they do not use and which are simply stored away in order to pulverise some future competitor”.
The Irish-owned restaurant chain, which has more than 100 outlets, added that the US multinational has trademarked words “in an attempt to wipe out any potential competition” and to “create a de-facto monopoly on the Mc prefix”.
While Supermac’s continues to expand across Ireland and grow its profits in the Republic, it has apparently been stymied in its plans to move into mainland Europe and Australia due to the opposition from McDonald’s.
Pat McDonagh, Supermac’s managing director, accused McDonald’s of having “literally registered the McWorld”.
“This means that if any McGrath, McCarthy or McDermott with a business idea uses their name in the title of that business or product the chances are McDonald’s already own the trademark and you can probably expect a knock on the door from them.”
McDonald’s Ireland is yet to respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Paul Hosford and Peter Bodkin.