Big Mac Trademark revoked


The Big Mac, known all over the world. This month it’s European trademark was revoked. So what are the lessons for
trademark owners? Background: Irish fast food chain Supermac’s was founded in 1978
by Pat McDonough and has grown to over 100 outlets in Ireland. For over 30 years
they coexisted in Ireland with McDonald’s. When Supermac’s attempted to
internationalize their presence, McDonald’s fought back. McDonald’s claimed the
trademarks would be confusingly similar in Europe. In January 2016 they won a
partial victory preventing Supermac’s from registering European trademarks for
their most important food items. This effectively blocked the expansion
ambitions of Supermac’s. Pat McDonough fought back and in January 2019
McDonald’s were stunned by the decision of the European intellectual property
office to revoke the Big Mac EU trademark because of non-use. How could
this happen? Unlike patents which have finite lives,
trademarks can continue to exist theoretically infinitely. There are some
conditions such as the payment of maintenance fees, enforcement of the
trademark rights, maintaining distinctiveness and using the mark. On
the last point if a trademark has not been used in the previous five years,
third parties can apply to the relevant trademark office to have the
registration revoked. Evidence of use: If you have a trademark registered in
several classes and in multiple territories, you will need to maintain
evidence of genuine use in each class in each territory. This evidence can take
multiple forms. It can be samples of products with the trademark attached. It
can be brochures, web pages, receipts and invoices. Lessons for trademark owners:
As we can see from this month’s decision, it requires active effort to prove
trademark use. Maintain a structure to retain evidence of recent use in each
class and in each territory. Affidavits by employees are not as strong as
independent evidence. Mere token use of a trademark is insufficient. Evidence of use in a small number of major European markets may not be sufficient
for EU-wide protection. Website advertising must be linked to actual
product sales. If you found this useful please do me a favor. Click like and
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One thought on “Big Mac Trademark revoked

  1. Tl;dr: McDonalds decided on the lowest bidder approach to legal representation.

    Don't cheap out on your legal representation!

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