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In January 2019, an Irish fast-food chain made headlines around the world when it prompted the cancellation of McDonald’s ‘Big Mac’ trademark. WIPR’s Rory O’Neill speaks to the lawyer who made it possible.
One might say that 2019 didn’t get off to the best of starts for global fast-food behemoth McDonald’s. The world’s biggest burger chain, McDonald’s has dominated its sector since being taken over by franchiser Ray Kroc in 1961. It has around 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, and its very presence in a country is seen almost as a universal symbol for economic globalisation.
Among its most iconic offerings is the Big Mac burger. While the McDonald’s menu varies around the world to reflect cultural norms, the Big Mac remains one of the most consistent features of McDonald’s global offering.
It might therefore have come as a surprise to McDonald’s in January this year that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled the franchise had failed to prove genuine use of its ‘Big Mac’ trademark in the EU.
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