Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where Vince (John Travolta) tells Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) what they call McDonald’s quarter pounders in France? Vince says everything has the same name, it’s just a little different “over there”. For those who want to relive the magic – here is a snippet –
You might not remember but for a man in Ireland it is probably a pivotal point in his life. If everything has the same name but it’s just a little different – is McDonalds using its trade marks?
Pat McDonagh, who’s nickname was Supermac opened his first restaurant in Ballinasloe (in county Galway) in 1978 and aptly named it Supermac. He now has 106 outlets in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Whilst his chain was not as large as the McDonalds chain he has clearly experienced success in business.
He wanted to expand into Europe but the McDonald’s Big Mac trade marks stood in the way of his expansion plans. He objected to McDonalds’ position on the basis it was hording trade marks with no intention to genuinely use them.
The EUIPO ruled that McDonald’s had not proven genuine use of Big Mac, which it trademarked in 1996, as a burger or restaurant name. Whilst this success will enable him to expand McDonalds can still appeal the decision.