US fast food giant McDonald’s lost an eight-year trademark battle to prevent local restaurant McCurry from using the ‘Mc’ prefix in a precedent-setting judgment by Malaysia’s highest court.
The Federal Court ruled Tuesday that McDonald’s cannot appeal against another court’s verdict that had allowed McCurry to use ‘Mc’ in its name. The owner says McCurry, which serves Indian food, is an abbreviation for Malaysian Chicken Curry.
The ruling by a three-member panel of the Federal Court ends all legal avenues for McDonald’s to protect its name from what it said was a trademark infringement.
McDonald’s will have to pay RM10,000 to McCurry, a popular eatery in Jalan Ipoh on the edge of Kuala Lumpur’s downtown. McDonald’s lawyers refused to comment, except to say the company will abide by the judgment.
McCurry lawyer Sri Devi Nair said the ruling means McDonald’s does not have a monopoly on the prefix ‘Mc,’ and that other restaurants could also use it as long as they distinguish their food from McDonald’s.
“This is a precedent for everyone to follow,” he said. The Appeal Court said McCurry’s signboard has white and grey letters against a red background with a picture of a smiling chicken giving a double thumbs-up, in contrast to McDonald’s red and yellow “M” logo. McCurry also serves only Indian food, not competing with McDonald’s Western menu, the court said.
McDonald’s began operations in Malaysia in 1982 and has 137 outlets in the country. -- AP