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Dawn Ellmore Employment reviews the shock defeat for McDonald’s as it’s stripped of its ‘Big Mac’ EU trade mark

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For more than half a century McDonald’s has been a recognisable brand in just about every country you can think of. According to its website, the chain has restaurants in 101 countries. Its 36,000+ restaurants serve around 69 million fast food fans every single day.

With stats like this, and McDonald’s easily recognised by just about anybody, the recent EU trade mark ruling has surprised many. McDonald’s has just lost its EU trade mark for the Big Mac in what is dubbed a ‘David and Goliath’ battle with a small Irish chain.

How did McDonald’s lose its Big Mac EU trade mark?

When Supermac’s took on the might of McDonald’s in a trade mark battle, it was assumed by many that the smaller chain would lose. While Supermac’s may not be a household name in the UK, however, it’s much loved in Ireland.

Now the largest fast food chain in Ireland, Supermac’s began in 1978 and today has more than 110 franchises and restaurants all over the country. Founded by Pat and Una McDonagh, it was named after his nickname, ‘Supermac’ when he played Gaelic football. They also own Claddagh Irish Pubs & Restaurants through Supermac’s Ireland Ltd.

The EU trade mark battle

Supermac’s has been locked into an ongoing fight with McDonald’s since 2015, when it announced plans to expand into the EU and UK. McDonald’s initially objected to Supermac’s registering a number of trade marks for products and its name. They argued that the names McDonald’s and Supermac’s are too similar and would cause customer confusion. McDonald’s further argued that the Supermac’s brand name is visually too similar to their trade mark.

Supermac’s responded by pointing out that they had happily traded at the same time as McDonald’s in Ireland for more than 30 years with no signs of confusion on the part of customers.

Initially, McDonald’s won a part-victory when the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) decided that Supermac can continue to trade in its own name within the EU. However, it rejected the Irish company’s trade mark applications for various products and menu items, saying that consumers might “be confused as to whether Supermac’s is a new version of McDonald’s”, given that there are near-identical products sold by both restaurant chains.

Revoking McDonald’s EU trade marks

In January 2019, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) made a decision that allows victory to Supermac’s after all. By ruling that EU trade marks owned by McDonald’s are to be revoked, Supermac’s is clear to expand into the rest of the EU.

The landmark decision went into effect immediately, on the basis that the EUIPO rules that McDonald’s had failed to prove “genuine use” of its Big Mac trade mark as a restaurant or menu item.

Unsurprisingly delighted, Pat McDonagh says: “Never mind David versus Goliath, this unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks. This is the end of the McBully. Just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context, doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner.”

How the fight played out

In April 2017, Supermac’s requested that the EUIPO cancel McDonald’s trade mark for ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’. The chain also accused the US giant of “trade mark bullying” by registering and gaining protection for names, but not actually using them to stamp down any potential competition.

On its part, McDonald’s legal representatives provided signed affidavits from high level executives and showed examples of packaging and adverts to demonstrate it serves Big Macs right across the EU, and therefore deserves to retain the EU trade mark for that specific product.

However, the EUIPO deemed this “insufficient” in its judgement. As trade marks are registered at national level and at the EU, McDonald’s does not lose all of its protection for the Big Mac. They also have the right to appeal, which we suspect they are likely to do.

Supermac’s forges ahead

For Supermac’s, all eyes are on the future. Mr McDonagh says: “This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trade mark office to allow us to use our SuperMac as a burger across Europe.”

A representative from EIP, an intellectual property law firm, Carissa-Kendall Windless, says: “This decision is a significant one, partly because it serves as a warning to multinational companies that they can no longer simply file trade mark applications without a genuine intention to use it”.

It’s inevitable that McDonald’s will exercise its right to appeal, and it will be interesting to see how this David and Goliath battle goes on this year.

About Dawn Ellmore Employment

Dawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.

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Understanding The Risks That Come With Driving A Truck

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Being a truck driver is often seen as one of the easiest jobs around, with a lot of people assuming that this role is just a matter of going from A to B. In reality, though, the truck drivers that everyone relies on to transport food, goods, and other essentials have one of the most challenging jobs around. There are loads of risks that come with taking on a role like this, and this post will be exploring them to give you an idea of what the average truck driver has to contend with. 

Theft & Robberies

Many of the world’s criminals don’t plan their attacks. Instead, they will act when they see an opportunity, and a heavily laden truck can be a clear invite to someone who is willing to break the law. Truckers have to work hard to protect their cargo, especially when they make overnight stays, with many professionals in this field choosing to sleep in their truck to make sure that they don’t find themselves with nothing to deliver. 

Accidents & Crashes

Accidents are becoming increasingly common on modern roads, with more and more drivers increasing the risk that a truck will hit something. If you ever find yourself in this position, you can discuss your case with an expert truck accident lawyer to make sure that you can get the help you need. This process can be hard, and drivers are often left without their truck while they work to get compensation. This can make it impossible to work, making an accident the last thing any trucker wants.

Accidental Death

Trucks are usually very large, carrying huge amounts of weight around with them over long distances. It can be all too easy for a simple mistake to result in someone dying, with pedestrians and other drivers to worry about. Causing an accidental death can be almost as bad as doing it on purpose, with people often going to prison when this sort of issue occurs. Taking advanced truck driving courses can be a good way to lower this risk.

A Dangerous World

It’s no secret that the world can be a dangerous place, and truck drivers often have to visit places that are nowhere near as safe as their home to get their job done. This puts a huge amount of risk into the job, especially for truckers that carry expensive goods through places that don’t have the right legal infrastructure to help them in an emergency. This sort of problem occurs quite often, but this is much rarer than the other issues on this list, as many truck drivers stick within their home country.

As time goes on, the role of a truck driver is going to change quite a bit. Autonomous trucks are already in development from several key companies, making it only a matter of time until the largest vehicles on the road are largely controlled by computers. Until this point, though, you are going to have to rely on your truck drivers for the items you need.

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4 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

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We all know how important it is to take care of your home to make sure that it lasts for as long as you want to live there (and beyond, too). But, when it comes time to move, you want to make sure you can get as much money as possible from your home. To do this, you need to think of how you can add value to your home now, and here are four of the best ways to do that. 

Add Some Luxury 

Luxury is not something everybody wants from their home. Some people prefer the modest and rustic styling of a family home, away from all the minimalist nonsense. However, there is the other side of this, and for others, luxury is a dream for homeowners. 

There are plenty of luxury options available, too. These can include a home gym, a welcoming spa or large bathtub, or even an outdoor pool. You must research the best companies to install this, and find adequate Waterproofing and Concrete Supplies to make it a success, but whichever luxury options you add to your home, you’re guaranteed to increase its value. 

Make It Rentable 

If your kids have moved out and it’s just you, your partner, and the goldfish left, you can consider making your home rentable if you want to increase its value. Transforming your child’s old room into a place for someone to stay during their travels is an easy way for you to make some money, but you can also take it a step further. 

If you want to increase the value of one property, there are few better ways than to transform it into several properties. If you convert the upstairs area into an apartment, you (almost) double the property’s worth, especially if you’re in an appealing part of the city. 

Consider Curb Appeal 

Curb appeal is arguably one of the most effective ways to increase your property value without spending too much money. Often, it only takes a quick mow of the lawn and replacing the flower beds to make it more attractive. You can also add a fresh coat of paint that will make your home stand out, and this will immediately attract the right kind of attention, especially compared to the drab colors of other homes on the block. 

Expand the Space 

Renovations and extensions are two excellent ways to maximise your home’s value as they will immediately add more space. This is perfect if you want to modernise your home by upgrading the kitchen or adding an en-suite to the master bedroom. 

However, some renovations can be more hassle than they are worth. So, before you do anything, make sure you research reliable construction companies in your area so you don’t get taken for a ride. 

Boosting Value 

Improving your home’s value can be expensive, but hopefully, the work is good en0ugh that it adds at least a zero to the end of your property’s price when it goes up on the market. If you can’t afford a substantial renovation or installation, there are also small but effective options to consider. It’s all about what you want, what you can afford, and how much you need to spend on your new home.

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How To Offer Further Value To Your Clients

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It’s important to never take your clients for granted. That said, sometimes businesses can get lazy, especially when it comes to taking care of their most loyal. It can even be that businesses make riskier decisions as a result, or just expect their clients to follow them everywhere.  

If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that businesses simply cannot rely on the past to dictate their future. For this reason, moving into the new year can provide us all with a chance to consider how to make the most of our presence, and how to keep those who trust us as a firm around. For this reason, figuring out a few ways to offer further value to your clients can only be a good thing. Not only will this allow them to recommend you more sincerely, but they will retain their consumer confidence for now and throughout the rest of this year, which is never something to be taken for granted as everyone is having to manage their financial affairs more tightly.

But how could you achieve this/? Let’s consider:

Offer A Modular Service

It can sometimes be that offering a modular service is best. That is, changing your packages to ensure staff can buy what amount of your service or product set they want can be a great idea. For instance, if you sell desks, why not also sell desk parts so people can upgrade? This way, you can encourage purchases that may not have otherwise happened. It can also help you better appeal to more people, people who believe that a modular service is the essence of business promotional confidence.

Use Outsourced Help Where Appropriate

It can be a great idea to offer certain services that may go above your reach, just to go the extra mile for certain clients. For this, you might not have to completely refer them to another service. Using an outsourced helper, such as a graphic designer, printer or someone with technical or consulting capacity, can really help you deliver the best of the best. They may also help you better your services through advice and direct assessment of your services, helping you avoid learning the hard way. Contractors can help you out in a pinch, or serve as long-term aids. That can be a boon for many businesses through and through.

Listen To Their Needs

Of course, you can think up a million methods to help your clients, but do you actually know what they want? It can’t hurt to ask sometimes. This doesn’t mean the customer necessarily knows what they want, or how they are best served, but it’s worth taking their opinions into consideration when designing your future. This might influence you when making the tough decisions, or when considering your future marketing, or even if just wanting to determine who cares enough to respond to your survey. It can truly make a huge difference going forward.

With this advice, you’re sure to offer further value to your clients, and to connect with them more readily, through and through.

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