30 March 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Supermac’s prevails over London cocktail bar in TM dispute

A new sub-plot in the  McDonald’s and  Supermac’s trademark saga could see the fate of a central London cocktail bar’s mark rest on the outcome of the fast-food giant’s dispute with the Irish restaurant chain.

Supermac’s is best known in the IP world as the company who had McDonald’s European  ‘Big Mac’ trademark invalidated, after McDonald’s allegedly tried to use its registrations to block the company from expanding outside Ireland.

Supermac’s has now been successful again, this time in protecting its own marks against potential infringement by a new King’s Cross-based cocktail bar.

R7 Restaurants is the company behind  Supermax, a bar and venue-for-hire. The company filed an application at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to register ‘Supermax’ as a UK trademark in class 43, covering a wide range of bar and restaurant services.

Supermac’s opposed the application, citing two EU trademark applications, which are pending the conclusion of the McDonald’s dispute.

In a  decision issued earlier this month and just made public, the IPO said that ‘Supermax’ was likely to cause direct confusion with the Irish brand.

The decision will kick into effect when and if either of the Supermac’s EU marks is approved for registration.

Those EU applications are themselves subject to an opposition at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) by McDonald’s, which has also  appealed the cancellation of the ‘Big Mac’ mark.

The operators of Supermax, who represented themselves in the proceedings, had argued that consumers were unlikely to confuse a London cocktail bar with an Irish fast-food chain.

But according to the IPO, the goods and services covered by both applications were highly similar, as are the marks themselves, resulting in a likelihood of direct confusion.

This is especially true, the IPO said, if the consumer is not paying a high level of attention when making purchasing decisions.

The IPO refused registration of ‘Supermax’ for everything except “consultancy services in the field of food and drink catering”, which was not covered by the Supermac’s applications.

R7 can appeal the IPO’s decision regarding the likelihood of confusion between its mark and the Supermac’s brand.

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