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Malaysia: McDonald’s vs McCurry

mccurry restoMalaysia’s Federal Court has ruled that McDonald’s trademark name was not violated by McCurry, a local Indian restaurant which is popular in Kuala Lumpur.

McCurry, which opened in 1999, was sued by McDonald's in 2001. According to the owners of McCurry, the “Mc” prefix in the restaurant’s name stands for Malaysian Chicken Curry.

Here are some reactions of bloggers to the historic court ruling:

As Suanie Sees It believes that some Davids in David vs Goliath fights are merely opportunists:

I'm like any other David, I love a good triumph over Goliaths. But sometimes I feel that certain Davids are merely opportunists, and when confronted they would argue that the Goliaths are major international corporations and have endless money, hence could afford to bully them. Of course there are many Goliaths who do that and should be stumped, but in some cases the Davids are no better. When it comes to McDonald’s vs McCurry, I feel that this is one of them

Commenting on a post, Melissa believes that many people know that McCurry is different from McDonald’s:

Of course they were totally riding on McDonalds’ wave, but considering the food they serve is completely different and I’m sure a lot of people know how different they both are and don’t associate them with each other, I guess I don’t see a problem with it

Eyeris wonders why McDonald’s did not sue another local “Mc” restaurant:

There’s another restaurant in Jelatek called McKandar… but just because it’s not as popular as McCurry, I suppose McD’s didn’t bother suing them. So does this mean McD’s only sues companies with the ‘Mc’ if they are doing well, perhaps better than any nearby McD outlets? Hmmm

Anonymous X advises McCurry to open outlets in the US and UK

“McCurry” should really consider expanding its business to US & UK. Many love to read such a heart-warming story about how a giant multinational company is utterly embarrassed by being so picky against a local enterprise who just wants to use the prefix “Mc”.

It's just a prefix, for goodness’ sake!

Carl Parkes fears McCurry-like restaurants will open in other Asian countries

Silly stuff, but if McDonalds doesn't defend it's franchise around the world, we might see McSatays in Bali, McAdobo in Manila, and McSomTam in Bangkok.

The Bluesman asks if other local restaurants will be inspired by McCurry’s victory

Will there be other outlets wanting to use the prefix ‘Mc’ now that the prefix appears to be no more a monopoly by the McDonald's. My favourite siamese restaurant Mek Habsah TomYam maybe wanting to change their name to McHabsah TomYam to lend themselves with some international credence or something. Or maybe we can now have other ‘Mc’ related names in our other local food chains say like McNasiLemak, McSatay, McRotiCanai, McFriedKwayTiau, McChickenRice, and so the challenge to McDonald's seems endless.

The blogger writes that consumers will decide if McCurry clones will survive the market

But business is still business, which means that finally it's the people like us, the customers, who will decide as to whether or not any business concern will continue to exist in the market place.

My Journal theorizes on why McDonald’s was persistent in its suit versus McCurry

I think, McDonald insist on pursuing this matter because they also one day would roll out their new product called McCurry. Since they also lost the battle, they have to give their dish another name, may be “McDonald Curry”.

After learning about the court ruling, Malaysian Life exclaims

Wow, I don't believe it but it's true. I guess it is possible to beat an international company in a lawsuit.

Twitter reactions from Malaysia:

dannyfoo: Did McDonalds realize their suit just gives McCurry free publicity and bigger awareness?
hasyudeen: When it comes to defending your rights, do not lose hope!
obel1: the new international foodie destination: McCurry
IamMalaysian: OKAY. So, McDonald's loses legal battle with Malaysia's McCurry. But who the hell cares?! Enuf already!
davinarul: McD might sue McCurry again if they sell wild boar, ‘cos Kaattu Pandi sounds too much like Quarter Pounder
davinarul: Does this open the door for McCurry to offer Egg McThosai, Sardine McChanai (with cheese), Moru shake and Tairu Twist?
altimet: I'm going there for some damn McCurry, damn it!
ZhiQ: nasty clown! now way any sane Malaysian can get confuse with McCurry, thinkin it's McD. me McDontKnow lah. lol!

4 comments

  • well – McDonald’s may wish to claim sovereign ownership over all Scottish named establishments but that’s just American arrogance . The Scottish were in Malaysia long before the U.S. was more than 13 colonies. McCurry may be new but Scottish heritage is shared by all the Port cities of the world.

  • Now McDonald’s can add that McChicken Curry sandwich to the menu with no problem… ;^)

    The funniest part is the block letters on the McCurry sign – very similar kind of font to McDonald’s. Now all they need is the tally under their sign, for how many meals served… ;^)

  • Allan Shaw

    I wonder whether the clan chief of the historic McDonalds on Scotland should sue the upstart McDonald’s. I suspect that would put an end to the bullying by the burger barons.

  • The recent McDonald’s v. McCurry ruling is not surprising. Just by the three main DuPont factors alone, appearance, sound and meaning, these two marks are arguably not confusingly similar. Add to that the difference in menus, and the difference in trade dress, and you have a pretty strong case for McCurry, which the panel seemingly accepted. The letters “Mc” cannot be totally, exclusively owned by one entity worldwide. And it’s not as if people are going to mix up McCurry with McDonalds. Now, if McCurry used the golden arches, had a clown and similar characters associated with the restaurant, that would be problematic. Those elements were not present in this case. On our site, http://www.trademarksprotected.com, we help with these trademark issues and any trademark questions.

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