Ever heard of MACCOFFEE?
You probably haven’t. And now most of the rest of the world will never hear about it either, as a result of Tuesday's ruling by the General Court of EU.
The court had to consider whether the European Intellectual Property Office was right to confirm a previous ruling which declared MACCOFFEE to be an invalid EU trade mark. The court agreed that the trade mark was invalid bearing in mind, especially, the existing trade marks of the fastfood giant McDonald’s.
So the court found in favour of McDonald’s. It confirmed that McDonald's has exclusive rights over the use of the prefixes “Mc” and “Mac” in combination with the name of a menu item or foodstuff in the EU. These rights derive from McDonald’s existing trade marks. In making its decision, the court considered (amongst other things) the considerable reputation of McDonald’s, the unique character acquired by the prefix “mc” in combination with foodstuffs/beverages, the degree of similarity between the products and the likelihood that MACCOFFEE would be able to free-ride on the reputation of the McDonald’s trade mark.
To find out more on Intellectual Property rights, including trade marks, take a look here at our free guide. It’s packed full of helpful case studies, infographics, checklists and helpful tips for how to keep the protection and management of your creative rights simple, cost-effective and easy.
You're on our blog and updates site, which is hosted by elXtr. elXtr is a leading digital hub powered by the award-winning lawyers at LHS Solicitors LLP, bringing you real law, made easy. Find out more about elXtr here.
Law for the online generation starts here.
"Indeed, it is highly probable that MACCOFFEE rides on the coat tails of McDonald's in order to benefit from its power of attraction, its reputation and its prestige, and exploits, without paying any financial compensation, the marketing effort made by McDonald's in order to create and maintain its image," they said.