mcdonald’s and mccurry

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that McDonald’s lost the court case against McCurry. I just glanced through the articles and I don’t claim to know 100% of the details. I think it’s something along the lines of McDonald’s claiming that McCurry is infringing on their trademark.

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.

My thoughts:

1. McDonald’s first outlet in Malaysia was opened in 1982. McCurry opened its doors in 1999. That’s 17 years for McDonald’s Malaysia to brand their company, products and outlets before the owners of McCurry decided to call their restaurant as such, accompanied with a huge red signboard with white lettering.

2. McCurry is supposed to mean “Malaysian Chicken Curry”. If it wasn’t reported in the papers, I wouldn’t have known it lor. Maybe I was already imprinted, but to me ‘McCurry’ indicates fast-food curry. They could have named it MCC as a better abbreviation.

3. There are many people named McCurry but the owners are not one of them.

4. Neither are they Scottish.

5. So it’s a bit weird to pull the ‘common Scottish name’ argument when they are selling Malaysian food.

6. Malaysian chicken curry or any other traditional Malaysian food does not taste anything like Scottish food.

7. So in fact, there’s no commonality with the prefix of ‘Mc’ .

8. Which again, to me does not tell me that it stands for Malaysian Chicken.

9. McCurry’s signboard’s font and colours are disturbingly almost similar to that of McDonald’s. Can you honestly say that it’s not intentional? That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the signboard many years ago.

Maybe McDonald’s Malaysia wants to start selling rice and curries, hence the stake on McCurry. Maybe when the owners of McCurry started their restaurant, they were just taking the cheek. It’s good news for all the McDonald’s and McCurry’s of the world because they can now operate a restaurant and call it after their namesake. Plaster it against a red signboard for all they care, as a court has ruled that you can do that if you are not selling hamburgers and such. But morally speaking, I still feel that McCurry was riding on the brand/name popularity of McDonald’s. What do you think?

comments

Comments

  1. 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 :S

  2. i personally do not have a problem with them doing this. but at least off the record, out of the courts they should admit to themselves or something that they are sneaky also.

  3. riding the fame/brand success of McD yes, but trademark protection doesn’t protect against the used of it on a totally different product, and in this case I think the court made a right decision. I do agree with your ‘off the record’ remark though, maybe they’re just being careful.

  4. let’s be honest with ourselves, do we seriously believe that this McCurry thing is an original idea? I am very skeptical, based on malaysian mentality and also points mentioned by you above.

    but one has to look at a broader picture. the situation is this… there are more and more scenarios which are causing foreign corporations to lose confidence in the malaysian judiciary. this is just a very remote case which is nice to read thus getting media attention. there are other more contentious issue where foreign corporations are being discriminated.

    such incidences are pissing them off and thus, many are threatening to pull the plug. but of cos, we are not concern… because regardless, we can still enjoy the best nasi lemak charkuey teow and bak kut teh around…

  5. KY … if someone starts another blog and named it… KY-Cakap…. you’re ok?

  6. ky: since McD argued that it’s infringing trademark, then i think they deserve to lose. that’s an argument that i personally do not buy. but i don’t think mccurry should be so smug and satisfied with themselves lor.

    zewt: from another perspective also, malaysians tarak originality and creativity. when i first saw the mccurry signboard, i was laughing damn hard and said to myself, typical malaysian.

  7. Yah we even have one Engadget shop..Malaysia style la, just borrow/steal/change a bit.

    I think it’s ok because they aren’t competing with McD, they are somehow associating with the brand but everyone will know it’s not part of the official franchise so no harm done.

    I agree with the court ruling on this one.

  8. 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.

  9. Perhaps I should rename my site McTEFA….

  10. They did it on purpose, for free advertisement. Lawyer that help file the suit also laughing to the bank.

  11. who believe McCurry = Malaysian Chicken Curry is an idiot lar.

  12. hahhaha hey I’ve got ideas while on the porcelain throne!

    McRice : Malaysian Chicken Rice
    McFan: Malaysian Chow Fan (fried rice)
    McKueyTeow: Malaysian Char Kuew Teow
    McTelur: Malaysian Canai Telur
    McPenang: Malaysian Cendul Penang

    add your genius here.

  13. Obviously this McCurry is not very original loh… and when i read that article in the papers, I almost burst out laughing!

  14. Obviously they are. Sometimes the people’s expectation might be a surprise of ruling courts. Or maybe the judge prefer surprised?

    If McCurry established before McD then it make sense…it make more sense if McCurry color and design totally unrelated with McD… and it make more more sense that the McCurry uses a different excuse without impersonate in the good sack of Scottish or Brave Heart into the court case.

    End up it make no sense the judge believe any of these senses or maybe the judge has no sense at all?

  15. First of all, McCurry is not an original idea, I mean, come on, of course the idea came from McDonald obviously. But this doesn’t mean the restaurant can steal McDonald’s customers since they are not selling the same thing anyways. Just McCurry would be easily remembered, that’s all.

    McDonald claiming ‘Mc’ as their trademark is also bit stupid I must say… altho the only other famous ‘Mc’ I know is McGyver, hehe.

    And I am pretty sure this McCurry owner didn’t even think about getting his ass sued when he ‘created’ McCurry. :D I am almost certain he thought it was OK to name his restaurant McCurry, lol.

  16. Oh, lupa nak cakap.
    I like McTelur. Kinky. :D

  17. there’s a McDuck in Johor if I’m not mistaken. :D

    Or maybe it was Kentucky Fried Duck…

    anyhoo, you know what’s more ridiculous than people who bought into the rubbish that McCurry is not riding on McD’s fame?

    people who don’t realise Mc is a Gaelic surname (prefix, whatever) and insist that Mc is soooo obviously a rip-off of McD’s.

    side note: why didn’t they sue Grey’s Anatomy when they started the whole McDreamy McHottie McNasty lingo? not food, i know, but still, would’ve been fun :P

  18. i didn’t know abt mccurry in msia until i read about mcd vs mcc as we don’t hv mccuryy in the east. :)

  19. Richard Baron says:

    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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