McDonald ’s lost a trademark dispute with the Irish food chain Supermac’s regarding its European trademark ‘Big Mac’. The Irish company attacked this mark with a request for cancelation based on a lack of genuine use on the territory of EU.
According to the EU law, if the trademark owner doesn’t use its mark for a period of 5 years before the cancelation request, he can lose the rights over its mark unless evidence for genuine use is submitted.
McDonald’s did exactly this, submitting affidavits with sales figures under the grand as well as brochures and printouts of the company’s websites and a Wikipedia page providing information on the Big Mac.
According to the EUIPO, however, these materials don’t show a real use of the aforementioned trademark. First of all, affidavits are signed by McDonald ’s employees which give them less weight because they are not independent evidence.
Regarding the brochures, there was no information on how they were used and whether they reached the consumers. The printouts from the company’s site can’t show any interactions with the consumers or any sales.
“Wikipedia entries cannot be considered as a reliable source of information”, as they can be edited by the website’s users, the ruling said.
It is highly likely that McDonald ’s will appeal this decision. Nevertheless, this case clearly shows the need for thorough preparation when it comes to gathering evidence for such trademark disputes because otherwise the trademark rights can be threatened.