The Star Online yesterday published a report about a legal battle between US fast food giant McDonald's and local restaurant McCurry. The Court of Appeal has ruled that McDonald's does not have exclusive rights to the `Mc' prefix and that no reasonable person would confuse the McCurry outlet with one run by the hamburger franchise.
Apparently in 2001, Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd, the local McD franchise holder, had sued McCurry Restaurant for trademark infringement. In 2006, the High Court ruled in favour of McDonald's and instructed McCurry to dropped the prefix. P. Suppiah, the owner of the Indian restaurant, duly complied by removing the `c' . But he did not give up and filed an appeal. This latest ruling means that Suppiah has won Round 2 and can reinsert the `c' on his restaurant signboard. Photo and full report from The Star Online -> here.
I am quite surprised that McDonald's went ahead with the suit in the first place. For a huge corporation that runs 185 restaurants in Malaysia, they feel threatened by a single shop that serves Indian cuisine. I am even more perplexed that the first round of judgement came out in McDonald's favour. The High Court judge is reported to have ruled that the `McCurry' name and the similar colours of the signboard would cause the general public to confuse the Indian restaurant with the fast-food joint. Wow... amazing.
McCurry Restaurant has its own website -> here. A background story of this legal battle and news of this latest win can be found there. Understandably, no such story is included in McDonald's Malaysia website.
I am happy for Mr. Suppiah for his win and applaud him for his fighting spirit. But this may not be the end of the story yet. The newspaper report closes with a line saying that McDonald's still have the right to appeal to the Federal Court.
I do hope that McDonald's decide to call it a day. If they still want to continue the fight, then I'll probably create online support for Mr. Suppiah. Not that I have any vested interest in McCurry Restaurant. I've never eaten there... heck, I've never even heard of the place before yesterday. But whenever I see an unfair fight, I'll always pitch in for the underdog.