‘Big Mac’ war! Local burger joint wins case vs giant McDonald’s Corp.
A local burger joint won an infringement case against food giant McDonald’s Corp. over the iconic “Bic Mac” brand before the Supreme Court.
This as the SC in a ruling granted L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc.’s petition seeking dismissal of the contempt case filed by McDonald’s over its supposed defiance of a 1994 court order stopping it from using the brand “Big Mak” for its business name or any product.
The SC instead reinstated the April 7, 2014 decision of Makati City regional trial court, which not only dismissed McDonald’s contempt petition but also ordered it to pay a total of P1.2 million for moral and exemplary damages and attorney fees to L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc.
The Sc held that the Court of Appeals erred in finding L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc. guilty of indirect contempt following McDonald’s allegation that it continued to use the words “Big Mak” in its stalls and products despite the earlier court ruling on the trade infringement case.
“Contrary to what respondent attempted to impress to the courts, it is not wholly true that petitioner continues to use the mark ‘Big Mak’ in its business, in complete defiance to this Court’s decision,” read the ruling promulgated last Feb. 14 but received by parties only recently.
“Testimonial and documentary evidence were in fact presented to show that petitioner had been using ‘Super Mak’ and/or its corporate name ‘L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc.’ in its business operations instead of the proscribed mark ‘Big Mak’ pursuant to the ruling of the Infringement Court,” the Court stressed.
The SC further explained that petitioner’s use of its corporate name that includes ‘Big Mak’ is not a defiance of the court’s ruling.
“It bears stressing that the proscription in the injunction order is against petitioner’s use of the mark ‘Big Mak.’ However, as established, petitioner had already been using its corporate name instead of the proscribed mark… Clearly, as correctly found by the RTC, petitioner had indeed desisted from the use of ‘Big Mak’ to comply with the injunction order,” the ruling read.