Normally I like the underdog but I am standing with McDonald’s on this one. I have to. A grave injustice has been done to their trademark.
On CNN today I read the story about McDonald’s losing their trademark battle in Malaysia against “McCurry“.
I am sorry, but this guy, Mr. Suppiah, owner of McCurry, in my humble opinion is a lying jackass and the court that agreed with him is a kangaroo court, even if it is the highest in the land. Why do I say this?
Just look at the photo in the news story. Not Mr. Suppiah and his beaming wife. Get a good look…
What do you see?
First of all, it is glaringly easy to see that his “McCurry” sign is using extremely similar fonts to McDonald’s and almost exactly the same color scheme.
Secondly, Mr. Suppiah maintains that the “Mc” part of “McCurry” actually stands for “Malaysian Chicken Curry”. I cannot buy this. If you want it to mean “Malaysian Chicken Curry” then why make the design just like the “Mc” in McDonald’s, again with similar fonts and color schemes? Why even abbreviate “Malaysian Chicken Curry”? But even if you feel the need to use the “Mc” then make it distinguishable rather than almost exactly like the McDonald’s logo.
But if this extremely unlikely story was the truth then why would Mr. Suppiah even feel the need to come up with the very weak argument about the “Mc” prefix being “common and is part of last names all across Europe.” (All across Europe? Only Scotland and Ireland with the possible exception of the Scottish and Irish diaspora in parts of the UK the last I checked… But I am sure the court must have agreed with this for some reason unknown to us all.) To use this argument about the prefix of the name at the same time saying “Mc” means “Malaysian Chicken Curry” blows Mr. Suppiah’s real intentions right out into the open. He sealed it with the claim that he “isn’t even selling western food” so he couldn’t understand all the fuss.
So the crap that Mr. Suppiah peddled was “I named my curry shop ‘McCurry’ after some northern European family whose name really means ‘Malaysian Chicken Curry’ but it is okay because I am not selling food they eat at home.”
As they say, “Justice is blind”. I can believe it now because they didn’t look at Mr. Suppiah’s sign and compare it against McDonalds.
You see, all over Asia I see Asians doing this very thing. Ripping off brands. It was terrible in Korea when I lived there. The Chinese kind of rule the roost in this area now but the Indians also seem to feel no shame when it comes to the trademark rip off. For instance, in Phnom Penh there is an Indian owned fast food (and Indian) restaurant that actually calls itself “McDonalds”. It even rips off the golden arches and entire color scheme. Here in Bangkok where I live there is IndianHut which serves only Indian food, but IndianHut rips off the name and logo of, you guessed it, Pizza Hut. You can see a very similar red house sign hanging in front of IndianHut’s.
Mr. Suppiah, hats off for your tenacity. But that is all I can respect you for. You got away with bullshit.
McDonald’s lost because they are operating in Mr. Suppiah’s world – not the other way around.