McDonald's has lost its EU trademark for 'Big Mac' in respect of poultry product after a legal battle with Irish fast food chain Supermac's.

Supermac’s, which first opened in Co Galway in 1978, and McDonald’s have been involved in a years-long dispute regarding the EU trademark Big Mac, which had been registered by the American chain in 1996.

In 2017, Supermac's filed an application for revocation of the trademark in relation to certain goods and services. The Irish fast food chain argued that the Big Mac trademark had not been put to genuine use in the EU in connection with those goods and services within a continuous period of five years.

In 2019, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) only partially upheld that application and confirmed that McDonald's could use the trademark in respect of foods prepared from meat and poultry products and meat and chicken sandwiches, as well as in respect of services rendered or associated with operating restaurants and other establishments or facilities engaged in providing food and drink prepared for consumption and for drive-through facilities and also the services of the preparation of carry-out foods.

McDonald's launched an appeal on the 2019 decision which concluded in McDonald's favor in 2022. Supermac's then took the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

In its judgment on June 5, the ECJ's General Court partially annulled and altered EUIPO's previous decision.

The General Court found that McDonald's had not proved that its Big Mac trademark had been put to genuine use in regards to 'chicken sandwiches,' 'foods prepared from poultry products,' and 'services rendered or associated with operating restaurants and other establishments or facilities engaged in providing food and drink prepared for consumption and for drive-through facilities; preparation of carry-out foods.'

McDonald's. (Getty Images)

McDonald's. (Getty Images)

On Wednesday afternoon after the ruling was announced, Supermac's shared this cheeky post to social media captioned "Just leaving this here!"

Supermac's Managing Director Pat McDonagh, a native of Co Galway, said on Wednesday: "We welcome the decision of the General Court of the European Union to revoke the Big Mac registration.

"This is a significant ruling that takes a common-sense approach to the use of trademarks by large multi-nationals.

"It represents a significant victory for small businesses throughout the world.

"We knew when we took on this battle that it was a David versus Goliath scenario.

"The original objective of our application to cancel was to shine a light on the use of trademark bullying by this multinational to stifle competition.

"We have been saying for years that they have been using trademark bullying.

"They trademarked the 'SnackBox,' which is one of Supermac’s most popular products, even though the product is not actually offered by them.

"This decision by the European Trademark Office is also an indication of how important the European institutions are to help protect businesses that are trying to compete against faceless multinationals.

"We can be proud to be part of a Europe in which all are equal. Small is no longer a disadvantage.

"We wholeheartedly welcome this judgment as a vindication of small businesses everywhere that stand up to powerful global entities."

Speaking with Galway Bay FM on Wednesday, McDonagh explained what the ruling means in practical terms.

"It means basically that if you register a trademark, it has to be used," McDonagh said.

"It can’t just be held and left on the shelf for years and preventing anyone else from using it.

“Secondly, it allows us to expand pretty much where we want to, if we decide to do so."

McDonagh said the ruling “absolutely opens the door for us to expand across Europe."