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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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5 Ways To Find New Clients For Your Business

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If you’re looking for ways to find new clients for your business but you don’t know where to begin then don’t worry, you have definitely come to the right place. Whether you’re a new business or you’ve been in operation for years, you need to be sure you’re regularly approaching new clients that could be interested in your business. Luckily, there are lots of ways for you to do exactly that. From attending events to speaking with local businesses, you may be surprised at the things that you can do. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to find new clients for your business: 

Attend Events And Conferences (Both Online And Off)

One of the best ways to find new clietns is to attend events and conferences within your business. With everyone there to network, you will be able to speak to people when they’re open to discussing their needs as a business. Face-to-face conversation goes a long way in sales and with that, events are the perfect too. 

With the COVID-19 curently affecting the events industry negatively, online events are also a great way to meet potential clients. Although networking may be a little harder, you still have lots of opportunity to meet new clients. For a guide to events during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can visit this site here. 

Speak With Local Businesses

If you have lots of businesses in your local area and you think that they could be a potential client for your business, get out there and speak to them. Whether this means sending them an email or picking up the phone, you may be surprised at how far a quick conversation can go. 

Use Online Platforms That Help You Find Leads

Although you may not be aware of this, there are lots of online platforms that allow your to find leads. Whether you’re searching through online tenders or looking a job listning boards for freelancers, you can find a lot of your clients simply by searching the right site. For more information when it comes to online tenders, you can visit etenders here. 

Invest In A Sales Team

By investing in a sales team, you’re investing in people who can help your business make more money. It may be a scary investment to start with but by the time they start bringing new clients on board, it will be worth it. For a guide to building a sales team, you can visit this site here. 

Use Social Media To Advertise

Social media is a great way to market your business and in turn, it can bring you more clients. Although it takes a lot of work and dedication, it’s definitely worth it. 

With lots of great tips and tricks to bear in mind, you can be sure you’re doing all that you can to find new clients for your business. What else could you do? Did we miss anything off of the list? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

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Tips For Organizing A Successful Business Event

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It doesn’t matter your industry or the nature of your business. There will likely be a time when you’ll want to throw a business event of some sort.

It’s essential that you review the following tips before you get started planning so that all goes over smoothly. You can rest assured that your event will be a success when you start planning early and map out your tasks and set deadlines for each to-do. Remember to have fun with this project and to make a note of what didn’t go over well so you can make changes the next time around.

Assign A Planning Team

Events can give your business the competitive edge it needs to succeed. It takes a team to plan a successful business event. There’s a lot that needs to get done so avoid trying to do all the work yourself. Put one person in charge of the event, so you know who to turn to for questions and to get an update on the progress you’re making. Make sure you sit down and talk about who’s doing what so there’s no overlap.

Set A Budget

Another tip for organizing a successful business event is to set a budget and to do so right away. It’ll be helpful to know how much money you have to work with before you start to sign contracts and put down deposits. A budget will help guide your decisions and ensure you don’t spend too much. Keep your budget handy throughout the planning process so you can refer to it when you’re completing your tasks.

Choose the Right Location

Your event will be much more of a success when you pick a prime location to hold it. You must have the right size venue and ensure it fits your theme. Tour spaces and see your options before making a choice. Once you have a venue, consider hiring First Traffic Management to ensure your guests get to your event safely. Let them handle the logistics and any permits so you can focus on being a good host.

Get the Invites Out Early

Your event isn’t going to go over very well if there are no attendees. Therefore, once you secure a date, time, and location, then you should send out the invitations right away. You want to have an idea of how many guests you can expect and for the invitees to put the event on their calendars and save the date. Create a marketing plan to help drum up excitement and get the word out about your business event.

Discuss On-Site Roles & Responsibilities

The night of the event is just as important as the preparation and planning leading up to it. You’re going to want to have a staff of people who can help ensure all goes over seamlessly when it’s show time. Get your staff together and discuss roles and responsibilities so each person knows what they’re in charge of and can be useful at your business event. Talk about logistics and ensuring everyone involved has a job to do and knows how to answer any questions the guests may have.

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How to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

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Due to the current financial climate, it is more critical than ever before for companies to stand out against their competition. The damage caused to the economy by COVID-19 has led to job losses and business closures. Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 5.0% in Q1 2020 and then dropped to 31.7% in Q2 2020. While you may not be able to control the events that caused the economic downturn, you can take steps to ensure that your business has the best chance of success and survival in these challenging times. One crucial way to protect your business for the longterm is to find ways to give your company a competitive edge. 

A competitive edge enables your business to become a major competitor in your industry and differentiates your company from the many similar businesses operating in your sector. You need your business to be the one that consumers think of first, when they have a need for the products and services that you offer, and you want them to keep coming back time and again. The question is, how do you develop a competitive edge? Read on to find out:

Differentiate Your Company From the Competition

The phrase USP or unique selling proposition is one that you would hear bandied around a lot in marketing departments in the past. Nowadays, the term USP is so well worn that it is practically overlooked. However, the importance of finding a way of differentiating your business from your competitors is a lot more than mere marketing jargon; it is an essential tool to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

Ask yourself, ‘what makes my business different from the many others out there?’ Then use this to your advantage by communicating it to your customers.

Spot Opportunities

Being the first in your industry to capitalize on an innovative new trend or idea is an excellent way to edge your way ahead of the competition. To spot these opportunities, you need to be on the lookout for ideas and inspiration. A perfect way to spot opportunities that your competitors may have missed it to keep up with news from around the world by reading the international press, for example, israelnationalnews.com. Keeping up with international news will enable you to spot potential markets for your products and services and to capitalize on these opportunities.

Offer Exceptional Service

While there are many ways that you develop a competitive edge for your business, it is vital that you don’t neglect the basics. Offering exceptional customer service is crucial for keeping a step ahead of your competitors. Many consumers become frustrated when a business attempts to attract new customers while neglecting existing customers. Ensuring that both returning and new customers are offered the same level of outstanding customer service is sure to give you a significant edge over the competition.

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