Feeds

Swede can't swallow McDonald's pizza

Golden arches weather the trademark storm

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

McDonald's will keep the domain name Pizza.eu after a legal challenge to the burger giant's right was rejected this week.

Torbjörn Ahlberg of Swedish domain name sellers TBA Media had challenged McDonald's registration which was sought during an initial period when the .eu space was open only to trademark owners.

McDonald's relied for its .eu application on a Hungarian trademark. The mark was a logo in which two McDonald's 'Golden Arches' (usually used to represent an 'M') were rotated to represent the 'Z's of the word pizza. A similar mark (pictured) was registered in the UK in 1994 but expired in 2004.

Although McDonald's does not currently sell pizzas in either Hungary or the UK, it does sell them at its restaurants in Italy. In securing the domain name, McDonald's beat applicants from Italy, France, the Netherlands, each of whom presented evidence of relevant trademark rights. Its success was not because of a stronger claim; it was simply first rights-holder to file.

Sweden's Ahlberg was the only failed applicant to challenge the award to McDonald's. The challenge will have cost an arbitration fee of €1,990 plus any legal expenses.

He argued that the "Golden Arches" trademarks used by McDonald's were synonymous with the letter "M" not the letter "Z", therefore they represented the word PIMMA rather than PIZZA and were invalid as a trademark for the PIZZA domain.

Irish panellist Joseph Dalby accepted that the "Golden Arches" logo is widely recognisable and easily identifiable as a symbol of McDonald's. But he considered the different use of the original motif was "a deliberate ploy to invite comparisons generally and perhaps puzzlement in some cases with the original."

He added that "the general impression of the word is apparent in the mark without any reasonable possibility of misreading the characters". Thus, they disagreed with Mr Ahlberg's hypothesis that the logo spelt PIMMA and believed it was a valid trademark with which to register Pizza.eu.

Hungarian company McDonald's Magyarorszagi Etterem Halozat Kft remains the owner of Pizza.eu, although it is currently a holding site, with no McDonald's-related content.

McDonald's has an extensive trademark portfolio which includes text or graphical registrations for McPizza, McSoup, McCola, McFish, McToast, mmmmmmm, Fry Girls and Mayor McCheese.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.