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McDonald's loses EU trademark battle over the Big Mac

CNBC logo CNBC 1/15/2019 Amelia Lucas

a close up of a person holding a sandwich in his hand: A man drinks a coke and eats a Big Mac at a McDonalds in Cologne, Germany, 25 May 2015.© Provided by CNBC LLC A man drinks a coke and eats a Big Mac at a McDonalds in Cologne, Germany, 25 May 2015. McDonald's has lost its trademark for its Big Mac burger in the European Union.

According to multiple reports in the British press, the EU Intellectual Property Office ruled Tuesday that the fast food giant was not using the trademark in accordance with EU law. The ruling takes effect immediately.

McDonald's could still appeal Tuesday's decision, the reports said. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An Irish restaurant chain called Supermac's brought the case before the regulator two years ago. It accused McDonald's of "trademark bullying." McDonald's had been using its trademark on Big Mac to stop the company from trademarking its own name in the EU, which would help it expand beyond Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Chicago-based company had argued that Supermac's was too close in name to the trademarked burger and would confuse the public. Both fast food restaurants sell burgers and fries.

The trademark dispute is not the first time that competitors have challenged McDonald's trademarks — or that a smaller company has beaten Goliath. In 2009, a Malaysian chain won the right to call itself McCurry after an eight-year battle with the fast food chain.

Related video: This fast food restaurant has the most locations in the world

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