This Is Not Going to End Well for Europe: EU Regulator Denies McDonald’s Big Mac Claim

From Courthouse News:

(CN) — There’s only one Big Mac, right? Not so fast. In a supersized trademark controversy, a European regulator has ruled in favor of an Irish fast-food restaurant chain and stripped McDonald’s of its exclusive use of the name Big Mac in the European Union.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office, based in Spain, recently ruled in favor of a popular Irish burger chain called Supermac’s and said McDonald’s had failed to prove it can claim ownership of the Big Mac trademark.

McDonald’s on Thursday vowed to appeal and claims it still retains the trademark rights to Big Mac, the iconic stacked hamburger with its special sauce and storied history of Big Mac lovers, among them President Donald Trump, and John Travolta’s character in the film “Pulp Fiction.”

Supermac’s has challenged the American giant since 2014, claiming McDonald’s engaged in “trademark bullying” to stifle competition and stop it from expanding into Great Britain and across Europe. Supermac’s line of burgers and meals are similar to McDonald’s. On its menu is a Mighty Mac burger and it has plans for a SuperMac burger.

In its filings, McDonald’s claimed Supermac’s name was confusingly similar to Big Mac. McDonald’s Big Mac trademark covered not only burgers but also franchises.

The first Supermac’s restaurant opened on the main street of Ballinasloe in County Galway, Ireland, in 1978, and today there are more than 100 outlets across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pat McDonagh, the chain’s founder, says Supermac was his boyhood nickname when he played Gaelic football.

If you’re still hungry for more, click the link and dig in!

How long until the President nukes Ireland and Spain?

Open thread!

41 replies
  1. 1
    The Dangerman says:

    Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles….

  2. 2
    Martin says:

    Vincent tells me it’s Le Big Mac.

  3. 3
    Yarrow says:

    I’m on the side of the not-McDonald’s restaurants. McDonald’s sues any restaurant that uses “Mac” or “Mc,” which doesn’t seem right to me.

  4. 4
    patrick II says:

    I wonder how much this opinion doesn’t have as much to do with jurisprudence, but resentment against the U.S. right now.

  5. 5

    How long until the President nukes Ireland and Spain?

    Looks like Helen is getting out just in time.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    Fast food and furious.

    One day people will wake up and realize what ‘qualifies as food in only the most technical sense’ industrially assembled crap they’ve been shoving down their gullets from these places.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: For all you know she’s the forward observer controller in Dublin.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    We rented a great flick on Redbox last week called “Bad Times at the El Royale” starring John Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, and Chris Hemsworth. Crime story set in 1969 at a seedy motel/casino straddling the CA/NV border at North Lake Tahoe. (There is a real place there that was once owned by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Chicago mafia boss Sam Giancana.) The MoTown soundtrack was awesome but we couldn’t find it for sale on a CD. Can only be streamed from Amazon as MP3 tracks. Will need to rely on my young nieces to tell us how to download the tracks and maybe burn them to a CD so we can play it in our cars.

  9. 9
    jl says:

    @Yarrow: I agree. I think McDonald’s claim is crap. Was the proprietor really called Supermac? if so, he wins.

    This post is some lawyery thing that I don’t understand well, but I think one of the tweets says McDonalds’ lawyers phoned it in with a string and tin can and deserved to lose, even if the reasoning of the judges might be poor. Though, like you, I think the decision was correct, so we need to find some good reasoning for it.

    BJ legal team? What say you?

  10. 10
    jl says:

    I see it’s an Adam L.. Silverman post. No Flori-duh tie-in? Like ‘gator haggis on the menu of Supermacs, or something like that. I just skimmed the post.

    Edit: I think the hamberder pic looks like a frowning bully with a bandage around its forehead. I can see it, It’s there! It’s a miracle!

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    Macallan has been distilling scotch since 1824, If anyone has dibs on mac, it’s them.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    Mickey D’s has lost trademark battles before, including one world-famous case a decade ago right here in Malaysia. They’ll live.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:


    Calling haggis an Irish food is like calling wiener schnitzel Itallian.

  14. 14
    I'll be Frank says:

    and now for something completely different

    subornation of perjury

    easy to understand
    we’ve enforced it before
    What say you, have we finally got there?

  15. 15
    jl says:

    @NotMax: you have a problem with fusion cuisine? I was talking about Irish haggis with some cabbage and Lucky Charms in it.

  16. 16
    Yarrow says:

    That picture is disgusting. It doesn’t even look like real food. It looks like a plastic burger.

    @jl: Irish haggis?

  17. 17
    NotMax says:


    So long as it is very, very hot. Cold fusion cuisine never did pan out as promised.


  18. 18
    Bumper says:

    Adam, I just sent you an email.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    ” As of 2015 the chain consists of a total of 106 restaurants spread throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. ”

    Northern Ireland –> Scots-Irish -> haggis.
    My work is done here tonight.

    the haters on this blog….

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    I saw the firat half of Bohemian Rhapsody on my lunch break today (one of my coworkers has a screener copy) and we’re going to watch the second half tomorrow. The biopic parts are pretty standard biopic stuff, but overall it’s pretty charming and the musical parts are outstanding. The actor who plays Freddie Mercury whose name I’ll probably butcher (Rumi Malik, I think?) is really, really good.

    Even the character that some people claimed was “demonized” seems to be pretty human so far: he’s trying to make Freddie fall in love with him and going about it in stupid and jealous ways. Maybe not the most likeable character, but definitely relatable.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:


    Rami Malek? Mr. Robot.

    ’nuff said.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:

    @NotMax: He’s such a good actor. Haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody but I’m especially interested because he’s the lead.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    “You have reached the Robert Mueller plea deal hotline. All of our agents are assisting other customers. Please continue to hold.”

  24. 24
    gene108 says:

    The decision is hilarious 😂🤣😅

    There’s no proof they sold Big Macs or for how long they’ve been selling Big Macs 😅😂🤣😹😹

    Catching my breath here…McD’s brought this on themselves trying to bully a smaller competitor.

    No one’s is gonna confuse Supermac with Big Mac.

  25. 25
    joel hanes says:

    @Mike in NC:

    at a seedy motel/casino straddling the CA/NV border at North Lake Tahoe. (There is a real place there that was once owned by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Chicago mafia boss Sam Giancana.)

    The CalNeva. Reputedly a place where JFK and Marilyn Monroe met secretly.

    Used to stop there around sunrise on the way to go skiing at Mt. Rose for the huge $3.98 breakfast in the casino coffee shop.
    The last time I was there, maybe twelve years ago, it was still seedy.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Don’t think they use all beef patties anymore. Has some amount of ammonia and stuff to keep it fresh or something.

  27. 27
    smike says:

    Clicking the Like button. Chuckles are good.

  28. 28
    plato says:

    super mac and big mac? not even close.

  29. 29
    plato says:

    Vanishing and magically reappearing posts. What’s up with that?

  30. 30
    PJ says:

    @joel hanes: I recently read a 2 volume 1600 page bio of Sinatra. According to the author, JFK and Monroe actually probably did the deed only once, in Palm Springs, though they did meet on 3 or 4 other occasions. But Sinatra did have an affair with Monroe, and she visited him in CalNeva shortly before she died. (On the other hand, Sinatra did introduce Judith Exner (Campbell) to JFK, and to Giancana as well.)

  31. 31
    Duane says:

    Speaking of McDonald’s, did they happen to offer an official response regarding the Trumpster fire of a White House dinner the other night? I’d really like the hillarity to continue. Trumpov deserves every embarrassment possible.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    Our last day in Dublin we ate at a SuperMac’s, thinking that the local chain would be better than McDonald’s. It was terrible.

    McDonald’s in France is a whole different animal from what we have in the US. It’s actual food, and there were choices besides hamburgers on the menu. I don’t remember much about the menu other than that there was so much real food. They offered the ubiquitous Paris ham sandwich on a buttered baguette, with nothing else on it because it didn’t need anything else. We only decided to eat there because friends encouraged us to do so, and they were right. That was 9 years ago. Two years later we had trouble finding the ham/butter/baguette sandwiches anywhere in Paris.
    We rented an apartment for 10 days each time, did some of our own cooking, and ate what the locals ate from what they served in the bars to a couple of fancy places.

  33. 33
    Viva BrisVegas says:


    Aren’t the judges saying that McDonalds’ lawyers came into the court without adequate proof that their product existed?

    i.e. It’s not up to the judges to agree that something exists, but that the plaintiff needs to prove that it does.

  34. 34
    Procopius says:

    @gene108: The way I read the story, they never sold Big Mac’s. MacDonalds’ sued to prevent them from using the name SuperMac because it is too much like Big Mac and might confuse MacDonalds’ customers. I have to agree it’s brand bullying.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    @Procopius: Were the lawyers just assuming that Micky D’s customers are really really really dim? I’d have loved to see them produce that evidence in court. “M’lud, consider the average consumer of our product. Quite so. We’re considering defending our exclusivity concerning use of the term ‘Big’ in conjunction with any theoretical foodstuff.”

  36. 36

    I remember when they sued a health food place that called itself McDharma’s. IIRC they got ’em shut down.

  37. 37
    Sloane Ranger says:

    IANAL but it’s decisions like these, ranging from the jaw dropping to merely eyebrow raising in their disconnect from the real world experience of real people that are picked up by the British tabloids, wrapped in populist rhetoric and used to show how arrogant, elitist and out of touch with real people EU institutions are.

    All part of the low level anti EU propaganda that has been running in this country for decades.

  38. 38
    p.a. says:

    Budweiser trademark dispute is an ongoing series of legal disputes between two beer companies (from the Czech Republic and the United States) who claim trademark and geographic origin rights to the name “Budweiser”. The dispute has been ongoing since 1907, and has involved more than 100 court cases around the world. As a result, Budweiser Budvar has the rights to the name Budweiser in most of Europe and Anheuser-Busch InBev has this right in North America

  39. 39
    daveNYC says:

    The thing here isn’t that they lost the case, I have no problem with some place selling a Super Mac burger. It’s generally pretty easy to tell if you’re in a McDonalds, and as long as the Super Mac guys don’t get cocky and make the Super Mac a copy of the Big Mac it’s all good. The problem is that McDonalds lost their trademark on the Big Mac, with the decision basically saying ‘we don’t really believe your evidence, plus there’s no sign that people actually bought these things’, which is kind of a difficult standard to meet if they’re going to need video evidence of people ordering or something.

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    @gene108: I think prison, not hamberders, when I hear Supermac.

  41. 41
    brettvk says:

    This post made me realize that I’ve never eaten a Big Mac. I think my hobby for my retirement years will be to maintain this record; it can be the one notable fact for my obituary.

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