It’s a modern day David and Goliath fight as McDonald’s, one of the world’s largest and richest companies, has slapped beloved Irish-owned family restaurant chain Supermac’s with a legal objection which, if it is upheld, will scupper the smaller restaurant’s future plans for years to come. The issue at the heart of the objection has to do with copyright infringement.
McDonald’s objection arises from perceived similarities between the name and menu of the two chains. It believes that if Supermac’s was to continue with its planned expansion to the UK, the EU and Australia it would be piggy-backing off the reputation the bigger chain has built.
The 41-page objection is intended to block Supermac’s from registering its trademark in the EU. If McDonald’s objection prevails, Supermac’s will be stopped from trading outside of Ireland under its current name.
However no one has ever known the Irish to go down without a fight and Supermac’s are already preparing a robust defense. Supermac’s will be banking on the fact that it provides a unique experience, with an original menu and different ingredients to McDonald’s.
Managing Director Pat McDonagh released a statement on the Supermac’s website outlining his response to the objection submitted by McDonald’s. McDonagh said: “Supermac’s and McDonald’s have grown and coexisted together within the family restaurant business in Ireland since 1978. As two very distinctive brands with immediately identifiable menus and a clear difference in ingredients and taste there has never been any confusion for our customers. Our roots in Ireland go as deep as to our name. The Supermac’s name was a most obvious choice for our first restaurant when it was given to me as a nickname during a Gaelic football match I played with my secondary school Carmelite College.”
Only time will tell if Supermac’s will be able to convince the EU Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market that it is not infringing upon copyright.
Supermac’s is a perennial favorite of Irish both at home and abroad. It has branches in nearly every county in Ireland – even on one of the Aran Islands – and is a well-loved destination for many either before or after a big GAA game or after an evening in the pub.
Supermac’s is a Galway-based company and prides itself on being an Irish company that produces a quality Irish product. Supermac’s love of all things Irish includes the Irish abroad too, as was clear from their now famous Times Square stunt last year. Despite not having any restaurants open in the United States, Supermac’s emblazoned their delicious chicken snack box across Times Square on 7th Avenue, inviting Americans to “come for the scenery, stay for the food” and informing them that their nearest Supermac’s was almost 3,000 miles away.
Let’s hope this plucky Irish company will be able to keep its sense of humor when it goes up against McDonald’s in the big leagues.