Supermac's accuses McDonald's of "corporate colonialism"

It wants the EU to cancel its 'Big Mac' trademark...

Supermac's has launched an attack on McDonald's European trademarks - including action to challenge its 'Big Mac' trademark.

The two companies have been engaged in a long-running legal dispute concerning Supermac's right to use its name outside of Ireland.

Rugby star Sean O'Brien and the Managing Director of Supermac's, Pat McDonagh

The Irish firm's international plans were put on ice after McDonald's successfully argued that having a 'Mac' competitor would create confusion for customers across the EU and in Australia.

Supermac's has asked the EU regulator to cancel the use of the Big Mac trademark registered by McDonald’s under certain classes. The request has been formally submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Supermac's is challenging the Big Mac trademark

The founder and Managing Director of Supermac’s Ireland Ltd, Pat McDonagh said:

"We have had enough of this trademark bullying and thankfully a mechanism exists whereby we can demand that McDonald’s will have to cancel trademarks that they are warehousing as ammunition in a future trade war. The tactic of trying to take ownership of everything that begins with Mc is corporate colonialism."

"They have trademarked words like McKids, McFamily, McCountry, McWorld, McJob and McInternet in order to, over time, squeeze out smaller family-based businesses. 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," Mr McDonagh added.

The US chain has trademarked 'Snackbox' - a phrase used by Supermac's and 'chippers' across Ireland - despite the fact that the chicken and chips combination boxes have never been sold by the company.

"McDonald’s do not offer this product and it doesn't contain a Mc or a MAC so why would McDonald's trademark it unless it wants to come knocking on our door again to tell us that we have to stop selling a product that we so obviously own?" the Irish businessman added.

Responding to this action, a McDonald's spokesperson told Newstalk: "We are unaware of any new action by Supermacs.

"However, as with all companies around the world, McDonald’s defends the values of our brand, including our trademarks, to protect consumers against confusion and prevent others from taking unfair advantage of our trademarks."

McDonald's previously said the Irish company is trying to "benefit from McDonald's long-established brand by making the trademark application for Supermac's to the EU."

Supermac's issued this list of over 40 existing McDonald's trademarks:

  • McKids 
  • McCountry
  • McHome
  • McWallet 
  • McRecycle 
  • McWorld 
  • McFamily
  • McJob 
  • McInternet
  • McNet 
  • McMission 
  • Mc 
  • McD 
  • Mac
  • McDelivery 
  • McAuto  
  • Full Bean
  • McCompass
  • McImagination 
  • McMoment 
  • McBreak 
  • McPick 
  • McFish
  • MacFish
  • McToast, 
  • McDrive
  • McSnack
  • McBox 
  • McNoodles 
  • McBaguette
  • McRoll 
  • McBreakfast
  • McSalad
  • McCroissant
  • McPizza
  • McHappy 
  • 280 
  • Snack Box 
  • Sharebox  
  • McMór  
  • The House That Love Built