This Feisty Irish Burger Chain Is Duking It Out With McDonald’s Over Trademarks


If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t even think about how almost every menu item at McDonald’s has “Mc” or “Mac” in its name. There’s McNuggets, McDouble, McRib, and once upon a time the McSalad Shakers. But, did you know that the restaurant chain has trademarks on all of its “Mc”-named menu items as well as myriad yet-to-be-released menu items? Well, they do and this isn’t sitting well with a small, Irish burger chain.

Supermac’s — based in Galway — says that McDonald’s is guilty of “trademark bullying” when it comes to names with “Mc” and “Mac” in the title. Supermac’s Managing Director Pat McDonagh is giving new life to the term “fighting Irish” as he and his company have decided not to just sit back and let Mickey D’s do whatever they want.

Everything was going fine for Supermac’s until they were issued a 41-page objection from McDonald’s back in February. The argument from Ronald McDonald and his gang of high-priced lawyers claims that the chain’s name (and menu items) are confusing to customers who are already used to seeing Big Macs and other menu items on the market. Obviously, McDonald’s is giving consumers a lot less credit than they deserve. I’m fairly sure most people could tell the difference between Supermac’s and McDonald’s even if they were in the same market. Do they even have a terrifying, red-haired clown?

McDonagh countered by pointing out that the giant burger conglomerate has taken great strides to register trademarks for names that they have no intention of using. These names include: McJob, McKids, McInternet, McCountry and McNoodle. This seems like a McMad dash to grab every McName possible so Supermac’s gets McScrewed.

“McDonald’s has literally registered the McWorld. It is trying to make sure that every word in the English language belongs to them if there is prefix Mc or Mac put in front of it,” McDonagh told The Independent.

The Irish chain, founded by McDonagh in 1978, does have a menu item called “the Mighty Mac” that bears a striking resemblance to a fairly famous McDonald’s menu item (you can guess the one) but this is Ireland where “mac” and “mc” names are like Smith and Jones!

This is all coming to a head because Supermac’s is set for a major expansion throughout Europe, the UK, and Australia. But, Mickey D’s has no intention of letting this happen.

Looking at this squable from the outside, it might seem like Supermac’s is just trying to make bank by copying McDonald’s, but that’s not entirely true. One of the strangest trademarks held by the company is Snackbox. For those who are unaware, this is one of the most popular menu items at Supermac’s. If that’s not a slap in the face, I don’t know what is. That would be like Taco Bell trademarking the Croissan’wich just to stop Burger King from using the name.

Supermac’s submitted its request to continue using its names on April 11th, but will have to wait months to find out if it will be able to. The whole process might even drag out for more than a year. Still, McDonagh is optimistic of the outcome.

“We know that it’s a David versus Goliath scenario but just because McDonalds has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight your corner. And that’s what we intend to do.”

Even if they don’t win, it’s nice to see a small(er) family-owned business trying to stick it to the McMan.