September 08, 2006
The High Court of Malaysian has ordered an Indian eatery called McCurry Restaurant to pay damages to US fast food giant McDonald's for imitating the chain restaurant's name and signature colours.
High Court judge Siti Mariah Ahmad yesterday ruled McDonald's had the exclusive right to the prefix "Mc'', and said the McCurry Restaurant, which has similar red and gold signage, had tried to capitalise on the global company's reputation.
"The act of the defendant was a deliberate attempt to get an unfair advantage to the detriment of the plaintiff,'' she was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency in ruling on the suit by the McDonald's Corporation against McCurry.
"The plaintiff had suffered damage to their goodwill and reputation and an erosion to the singularity that they had enjoyed vis a vis the Mc mark, either when used on its own or in conjunction with an item of food'' she said.
The sum of the damages award is to be assessed by authorities, Bernama said.
The judge said McCurry could cause confusion amongst Malaysians with its red and gold logo, which features a chicken giving a thumbs up sign, and ordered the curry restaurant to drop the "Mc'' from its name, Bernama reported.
McDonald's in its suit had said the "Mc'' prefix was a trademark used on all its goods and services and was globally recognised.
But the Kuala Lumpur-based McCurry, formerly known as Restoran Penang Curry House, argued that the prefix "Mc'' was not exclusive to McDonald's and pointed to its use in surnames, including Scottish ones.
It also said it served an array of popular Malaysian dishes which were totally different from the typical burger and fries fare at McDonald's.
McCurry, which has insisted its name is an abbreviation of local popular dish "Malaysian Chicken Curry'', said it would appeal the ruling.
There are 174 McDonald's restaurants in Malaysia, and the company is expanding at about 15-20 restaurants annually, according to the McDonald's Malaysia website.