We don't see true David v Goliath victories in the courts very often these days – sadly it's often a case of 'whoever has the most money gets the best result.' But a scrappy Irish restaurant chain called Supermac's has just managed to get the mighty McDonalds' trademark on 'Big Mac' overturned across the whole of Europe.
The battle has been long and arduous, running since 2015 when Supermac's filed an EU trademark for their restaurant name and McDonalds' lawyers filed an objection. The dispute has been simmering ever since, but the latest decision kicks in immediately and allows Supermac's to expand outside Ireland as planned without incurring McDonalds' legal wrath.
The family-owned chain has more than 100 restaurants in Ireland, and was named for its founder, Pat McDonagh, and his footballing nickname.
McDonalds' lawyers don't sound like they particularly earned their keep on the case if this report in the Independent is anything to go by:
"Lawyers for McDonald’s had provided printouts of its websites, examples of advertisements and packaging, three signed affidavits from its executives, and a printout of its Wikipedia page as evidence that it sells Big Macs across the EU and deserves a trademark."
They printed a Wikipedia page as evidence in a serious trademark dispute? Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone and isn't considered worthy of referencing in student essays? K then.
In any case, the EU was having none of it and not only cancelled the trademark with immediate effect, but also ordered McDonalds' to pay Supermac's costs of €1,080 (£957). That's a lot of burgers.
McDonald's will be able to appeal the ruling, and we suspect they will. Jeez, eat a Happy Meal, guys.