At the tail of end of last week, the news broke that McDonald’s in Malaysia was on the losing end of an eight year long court battle against an Indian restaurant calling itself McCurry.
The latest court ruling said that the fast food giant cannot claim an exclusive right to the ‘Mc’ prefix and there was no evidence to suggest McCurry (which stands for Malaysian Chicken Curry) had misrepresented itself to the public and confusing consumers.
Headline from theSun
The case is just one example of the struggle big-name consumer products face in attempting to protect its brands. Now I am not here to debate whether McCurry is in the wrong but McDonald’s clearly thinks the Indian restaurant has.
In a statement to A+M, the company’s VP of marketing communications, local store marketing and business / consumer insights, Stephen Chew said McDonald’s intellectual property includes the ‘Mc’ prefix and that intellectual property was considered to “be highly valuable company assets.”
“Over the years we have been vigilant in vigorously protecting and enforcing our trademark rights wherever we do business,” he said.
“We note that we originally won this trademark protection case in 2006 – so naturally, we are disappointed with this particular appeal court ruling.”
When asked if he thought the ruling might see a string of F&B outlets challenge the use of the ‘Mc’ prefix in their names, Chew would only comment that McDonald’s “will continue to protect its trademark in the future.”
The ruling certainly brings up an excellent question – will other big brands or multinationals, right or wrong, look at this market as one that does not particularly respect intellectual property rights?
If you hadn't already listened to it before, we also brought up the topic on our weekly spot on BFM which you can listen to here.
Over to you guys.
UPDATED 7/9/2009: MCDONALD'S HAS CHALLENGED THE RULING AND THE CASE HEADS FOR A MALAYSIAN COURT AGAIN. http://tinyurl.com/mj9z5u