McDonald's loses 'Big Mac' trademark case to Irish chain Supermac's

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp has lost its rights to the trademark "Big Mac" in a European Union case ruling in favour of Ireland-based fast-food chain Supermac's, a decision from the EU's Spain-based Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) showed.

The judgement, provided to Reuters by Supermac's, revoked McDonald's registration of the trademark, saying that the world's largest fast-food chain had not proven genuine use of it over the five years prior to the case being lodged in 2017.

The EUIPO did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment. 

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Located in the small seaside town of Freeport, Maine, this McDonald's was first the historic Gore House. William Gore, a prominent Freeport merchant, built the mansion in 1850.

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Source: The New York Times and The Freeport Historical Society

The building was converted into Freeport's only McDonald's in 1984.

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The town of Freeport has strict building design codes, and McDonald's wanted to build a location in a residential zone.

(Instagram)

Initially, Freeport's 6,200 residents were pretty evenly divided about the McDonald's construction.

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But McDonald's was eventually granted a permit to remodel the Gore House. Freeport allowed its construction, but only if the restaurant retained the town's aesthetic.

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''What we are doing there is something we probably have never done before in terms of design and the amount of time and effort involved," said Stephen Leroy, manager of McDonalds' media relations, in 1984. ''We are willing to spend the money to make it compatible with the area, the history, the community and the people who live there.''

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Source: The New York Times

Inside, it looks like a McDonald's but still retains that classic New England style.

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It serves typical menu favorites, like Big Macs and McFlurries ...

(Instagram)

... as well as a local favorite: lobster rolls for $8.99.

(Instagram)

The corporation built a drive-thru on the building's side, too.

​​​​​It's surrounded by L.L. Bean's headquarters, an outlet mall, and luxury stores like Polo Ralph Lauren and Burberry.

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It's not the only arch-less McDonald's in the US. Colonial-style locations have also been built in New Hyde Park, New York, and Independence, Ohio.

Sources: Curbed and Flickr

Chung Chu/Flickr

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McDonald's was not immediately available to comment on the decision. The decision said the company can still appeal.

With the revocation, Supermac's said it can now expand in the United Kingdom and Europe. The ruling also allows the Irishchain to use the "Big Mac" name on any food items it will sell.

Supermac's said it had never had a product called "Big Mac" and that McDonald's had just used the similarity of the two names to block the Irish chain's expansion.

"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 in an email.

"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."

(Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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