Saturday, December 5, 2009

McCurry - Wall Street Journal Article

Source - Wall Street Journal

Any trademark lawyers care to weigh in on this case? We don’t know trademark law well enough to answer why we feel this way, we have a sense that U.S. trademark law might have dictated a different result.

The news: McDonald’s Corp. on Tuesday lost an eight-year battle to prevent a family-run Kuala Lumpur restaurant from calling itself “McCurry.” Click here for the WSJ story.

Huh. So McCurry lives on? Apparently so. Sri Dev Nair, a McCurry lawyer, interprets the ruling as meaning that as long as other restaurants distinguish their cuisines from that of McDonalds, other restaurants are free to use the prefix. McDonald’s officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but the Associated Press reported the company’s counsel as saying it will abide by the judgment.

McCurry’s struggle to be known as McCurry has become a cause celebre in Malaysia in recent years. Established in 1999, the restaurant adopted a Western-style fast-food ambience to serve traditional Indian and Malaysian dishes, such as fish-head curry.

“We chose an international-sounding name to attract as many customers as possible,” said P. Suppiah (pictured, left), one of the restaurant’s owners. McCurry, he said, is shorthand for “Malaysian chicken curry,” and the restaurant’s logo displays a bright-yellow chicken giving a thumbs-up sign.

Suppiah’s 24-hour restaurant quickly become a local icon in the Jalan Ipoh district of Kuala Lumpur, with red-and-white signage and a popular menu with Malaysian-style tea, coconut rice with spicy shrimp and chicken, and chicken tandoori.

McDonald’s, however, saw McCurry as a legal threat. They first sued McCurry for trademark infringement in 2001 and a court ruled in favor of McDonalds in 2006.

McCurry appealed, and the Court of Appeal ruled in the Malaysian restaurant’s favor in April this year, pointing out that McCurry serves curry, not burgers. McDonald’s then took the matter to Malaysia’s Federal Court, which on Tuesday ruled that McDonald’s can’t appeal against the lower court verdict.

Again, we’d love a bit of insight here. Seems to us that if a Western-style fast-food sushi restaurant decided to call itself “McSushi,” it might be outta luck.

McCurry Wins Big McAttack in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Eatery Defeats Trademark Challenge From McDonald's in Country's Top Court

American fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. on Tuesday lost an eight-year battle to prevent a family-run Kuala Lumpur restaurant from calling itself McCurry, after Malaysia's top court said the Indian-food joint could use the prefix "Mc" in its name.

A McCurry lawyer, Sri Dev Nair, said the ruling means McDonald's doesn't have a monopoly on the prefix "Mc," and that other restaurants could also use it as long as they distinguished their food from McDonald's.

No comments: