'McCurry' vs. McDonald's--and guess who wins?

It has been an eight-year legal battle between McDonald's against Malaysian's McCurry over the use of the prefix "Mc". And the winner is finally revealed...it's McCurry. By the way, McCurry stands for "Malaysian Chicken Curry". Creative, huh? And not to mention, provocative...at the very least to McDonald's.

The news that the local humble Malaysian eatery "McCurry" winning against the behemoth McDonald's has even made it to CNN (in its article, "McCurry wins battle against McDonald's") and Guardian.co.uk ("McDonald's loses McCurry legal battle").

"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!

Malaysia's highest court ruled Tuesday against US fast food giant McDonald's, which has waged an eight-year battle to prevent local eatery "McCurry" from using the prefix "Mc" in its name.

"It is the end of the road for McDonald's. McCurry can use the prefix," said lawyer Sri Dev Nair who represented the family-owned restaurant, which serves up Malaysian favourites like tandoori chicken and fish masala.

"McCurry and McDonald's are two different businesses which sell different types of food and they have different customers," he said, rejecting McDonald's claim that the use of "Mc" in its name could cause confusion.

In April, McCurry scored a David-and-Goliath victory when the appeals court overturned a 2006 high court decision that McCurry had illegally infringed on the burger chain's trademark.

McDonald's on Tuesday sought permission from the federal court to contest the appeals court decision, but judges denied the application and said the burger chain's petition was "not properly framed".

"It is unfortunate we have to dismiss the application with costs," said Judge Arifin Zakaria, who headed the three-member panel. Costs amounted to 10,000 ringgit (2,845 dollars).

"Justice has been served. The food that we serve is very different from McDonald's," said McCurry owner Kanaeges Suppiah.

"We have no similarities with them at all. That's what we have felt all this while and that's why we could go on until this stage," she told reporters.

McDonald's counsel declined to comment, saying they had to brief their client first.

"We abide by the court's decision," lawyer Wong Sai Fong said.

The McCurry restaurant, which the owners say is short for Malaysian Chicken Curry Restaurant, was established in 1999. McDonald's has 185 outlets in Malaysia, the first of which it opened in 1982.

From Yahoo! News, "Malaysia's 'McCurry' beats McDonald's over trademark".

It was business as usual at Restoran McCurry in Jalan Ipoh here, after the owner finally won a legal battle against global fast food giant McDonald's over the use of the 'Mc' trademark.

After spending eight years, and in his own words, "a substantial sum", A.M.S.P. Suppiah and wife Kanageswary, were relieved when met at their modest Indian eatery.

Kanageswary said the word, 'McCurry', was culled from Malaysian chicken curry, one of the specialities of the restaurant that employs 18 workers.

The publicity from the case has also earned the qualified accountant enquiries from abroad to franchise the McCurry name.

"I am very relieved now. All my prayers have been answered...now, I can look forward to the future," said Suppiah who recently went to India for a temple pilgrimage.

Even while speaking to Bernama in the restaurant with newspaper clippings of the case plastered on its walls, his mobile phone kept ringing as friends and well-wishers congratulated the father of three.

Suppiah, 55, was interviewed by Al-Jazeera TV, Reuters and other international news services and television channels.

He started McCurry in 1999, but never thought that the day would come when he would be confronted by Mcdonald's in court.

Since April, when the Court of Appeal ruled that McDonald's did not have a monopoly over the 'Mc' prefix, offers came from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Britain, United States and Australia to use the 'McCurry' trademark and for joint ventures.

"McCurry is a very strong name," said Suppiah who was educated in New Zealand where he also resided for 12 years.

But it was still too early to mull the opportunity overseas because it would cost a lot of money and work, he added.

Asked whether he was confident of winning the legal fight, Suppiah said he had strong grounds because McDonald's had lost two similar cases in Britain in 2001 and Singapore in 2004.

"There is already a precedent...our food and the restaurant set-up is totally different," he said.

The McCurry versus McDonald's case was finally settled today by the country's highest court, the Federal Court, which also ordered McDonald's to pay RM10,000 as costs to McCurry.

A high court had first ruled in favour of McDonald's but McCurry took the fight to the Court of Appeal which ruled it was wrong to assume that McDonald's had a monopoly on the use of the prefix 'Mc'.

During the court hearings, McCurry contended that McDonald's could not claim monopoly or exclusive rights as 'Mc' was extensively used around the world as surnames, particularly by people of Scottish origin.

From New Straits Times, "Malaysian chicken curry behind McCurry".


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