Fast Food

McDonald’s accused of ‘trademark bullying’ by Irish burger chain

The CEO of Supermac's is fed up with McDonald's.

The CEO of Supermac's is fed up with McDonald's.  (iStock)

The owner of an Irish burger chain is blaming McDonald’s for preventing his business from expanding into Europe.

Pat McDonough, the CEO and founder of Supermac’s fast food restaurants, has accused McDonald’s of “trademark bullying” in a complaint he filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), claiming that the American burger chain is deliberately trying to stifle competition by trademarking every word containing “Mc” or “Mac.”

“McDonald’s has literally registered the McWorld,” stated McDonough, reports The Irish Times. “It is trying to make sure that every word in the English language belongs to them if there is prefix Mc or Mac put in front of it.

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McDonough’s complaints stem from a 2016 decision by the EU’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), in which they rejected an application to trademark his menu items on the grounds that consumers might confuse Supermac’s offerings with McDonald’s products, reports TheJournal.ie.

Instead, the OHIM granted Supermac’s a separate trademark in Europe, but only on the condition that the “Supermac’s” name not be used to sell meat, hamburgers, poultry and onion rings (among other items) outside of Ireland, per Hospitality Ireland.

McDonough also believes that the OHIM came to their 2016 decision under pressure from McDonald’s, who submitted a 41-page complaint with the EU after McDonough filed for the company’s trademark.

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“They have trademarked words like McKids, McFamily, McCountry, McWorld, McJob and McInternet in order to, over time, squeeze out smaller family-based businesses,” said McDonough, who claims to have named his Supermac’s restaurants after the nickname he earned in college.

“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.”

It's unclear if the EUIPO plans to revise their decision based upon McDonough's lastes complaint.

McDonough and his wife Una opened the first Supermac’s in Ireland in 1978. The chain currently boasts over 100 restaurants throughout Ireland.