The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered a verdict that strips McDonald’s of the right to use the “Big Mac” trademark for chicken sandwiches and any poultry products within the EU.

The ruling comes after a prolonged legal tussle with Irish fast-food chain Supermac’s, which challenged the global giant’s hold on the name.

Supermac’s, with more than 100 outlets across Ireland, initiated the legal battle by filing a revocation against McDonald’s “Big Mac” trademark, which was first registered in 1996.

The Irish chain contended that McDonald’s had not genuinely used the trademark for the range of products and services for which it was registered over the past five years.

In 2019, the European court partially sided with Supermac’s, permitting the use of the “Big Mac” name within its establishments.

However, it allowed McDonald’s to retain the trademark for meat and poultry products, restaurant operations, drive-through and takeaway services.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Supermac’s contested this decision, leading to the latest ECJ ruling in its favour.

Supermac’s managing director Pat McDonagh said: “This is a significant ruling that takes a common-sense approach to the use of trademarks by large multi-nationals. It represents a significant victory for small businesses throughout the world.”

The ECJ’s decision is based on the finding that McDonald’s had failed to demonstrate the use of the “Big Mac” trademark on poultry products for a continuous five-year period in the EU.

Consequently, McDonald’s has lost the trademark for chicken sandwiches and other poultry items, partially annulling and modifying the 2019 ruling.

McDonald’s stated: “The decision by the EU General Court does not affect our right to use the “Big Mac” trademark.

“Our iconic Big Mac is loved by customers all across Europe, and we’re excited to continue to proudly serve local communities, as we have done for decades.”

Supermac’s, founded in 1978 with its first restaurant in Ballinasloe, County Galway, is a family-owned business and the largest indigenous fast-food restaurant group in Ireland.

The company has a strategy of ongoing expansion and aims to continue its growth trajectory.