Saturday, 2 May 2009

Local Indian curry beats American hamburger

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.

18 comments:

HLiza said...

They called it a David vs Goliath fight. I'm too quite happy that Mc Curry won..not that I've ever eaten there..in fact I'm avoiding mamak food nowadays..but it just shows that you don't have to be big to make an impact. And it's funny that such a big giant feel threatened by a small outlet..they have to stop thinking they own the word 'Mc'.

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Uhmm.. interesting. I've never heard of McCurry either, nor seen their outlet. So it is rather mind-boggling that the big McD would go so far as to sue this little curry house for the use of the prefix Mc. But then again, any publicity -good or bad - is always a good thing. I guess it's now up to little McC to live up to its culinary reputation of the "little curry house that could" *laughs*

Oldstock said...

-> Hliza,

I guess whoever at McD who made the decision to sue McCurry must have a big ego to think that they have exclusive rights to the Mc prefix. Based on their logic, it would mean that a genuine Scotsman with a Mc to his name may not be able to open a restaurant.

McCurry is in fact a real Scottish name. Steve McCurry is the award-winning photographer whose Afghan Girl pic is one of the most famous National Geographic magazine cover ever.

Oldstock said...

Andrea,

Yeah, good publicity for both McD and McCurry. Now I know that the McCurry restaurant is located at Jalan Ipoh.

AFP and Reuters both carried this story too. So McD HQ in US would know about it, I guess.

In the end, its the lawyers that make some money.

Nurie said...

Interesting! McD has an ego of a dinosour! Tah apa apa la, they should use their money for more beneficial things rather than suing a local buz!

I totally agree with you, if McD thinks they own exclusive rights to the prefix what about those people whose name starts with Mc. milions of people can sue McD then!

Patricia said...

I know I'd choose a McCurry over McD any time - and I'm not a fan of curry! McD is so unhealthy.

And now they're helping to put McCurry on the map! Hahaha. Good one!

hanitha said...

emmm...bgs gak klu ramai scottish saman MCD, ngan harapan dpt la di turunkn harga burger mereka, leh mkn selalu ehehehee....skrg nie too pricey n pickles pon dh tkde...dorang pon cut cost tp harga tk turun2...

hanitha said...

luper la plak nk tambah..i love mamak food..esp kari ikan , pergh!!! trbaik woks... ehehehee

Uncle Lee said...

Hi OldStock, This has happened here too.
But frankly, I wonder why some businesses don't come up with their own business names?
Be original.

There's a Boutique here, two stores actually and the name is '8 Inches'. Yes, you read that right.

I still have no chance to ha ha, enquire from the lovely HK lady owner why that unusual name. But it sure attracts people.

And of course some tourists or men standing underneath the sign take a photograph. Hmmmm!
Ha ha.
You keep well and have a pleasant week, Lee.

DrSam said...

It was very interesting to note (and kinda of funny) on how the courts (probably a kangaroo-like court) has two different ruling and contradicting opinion.

But in away, I am happy for Mr. P. Supiah, even though I am no fan of mamak food. I will give you my support if you create an online petition.

Chahya said...

If that McCurry didnt do it, it could have been me...coz I planned to have my future book cafe named McDeLight soon, owned by Chahya Holdings Sdn Bhd! LOL.

Oldstock said...

Nurie,

The one with the big ego is probably the head honcho of Golden Arches Restaurants in Malaysia. He/she must have been the one to give the final say to proceed with the suit.

Heran jugak la... takut sangat rugi bisnes sebab competition from one Indian restaurant.

Oldstock said...

Pat,

I can't remember when I last ate at McD. When my kids sometimes pester me for fast food, I'll take them to KFC or A&W. Even that is very seldom.

Oldstock said...

Hanitha,

Kamu suka makan kat McD ye? Saya dulu makan kat McD kalau desperado aje.

Pernah dulu me and a friend was in Singapore... bila tiba time makan, McD was the only halal makan place nearby, so that's where we had lunch. Although I know other good makan places, my friend tu malas nak berjalan. Leceh betul.

Oldstock said...

Hi Lee,

8 inches, huh? Now that's an intriguing name for a boutique. Once you find out what it stands for, you'll let us know, okay.

Oldstock said...

Hi Doc,

That's what I thought. How can the first court decide on a matter like this favouring McD in the first place. It sometimes boggles me on how lawyers can argue their case based on seemingly unlogical grounds.

But I guess, that's how lawyers make a living (Versedanggerik will probably flame me for this, heheheh).

Oldstock said...

Chahya,

McDeLight Book Cafe... now that's a nice name to have.

If McD decides to sell books after you've opened your shop, you can sue them instead, hehehe...

You let me know when this cafe of yours opens... I'd like to be the first customer.

andy said...

it's so great. I never saw a great article like this before. thanks for letting me know.

It's Andy from http://blogonblogspot.com