Saturday, September 26, 2009

Malaysia's McCurry has the last laugh after legal battle with McDonald's

I don't imagine that many people were backing the all-encompassing, homogenous might of McDonald's in its 8-year legal battle to stop McCurry, an Indian fast food eatery in Kuala Lumpur, from using the "Mc" prefix.

Having finally fended off the accusation of trademark infringement earlier this month, McCurry's owner P. Suppiah appears to be having the last laugh.

Thanks to all the global media attention aroused by the case, he has had numerous calls from investors wishing to set up McCurry restaurants overseas and plans to open outlets in Sri Lanka and the Maldives later this year, according to a report in Singapore's Straits Times (see below).

I wonder if McDonald's will take a more relaxed approach in future or whether McCurry's new overseas operators can expect Sri Lankan and Maldivian court papers to land on their doormats sometime in the near future.

KUALA LUMPUR - SINCE restaurant owner P. Suppiah won an eight-year legal battle against fast-food giant McDonald's three weeks ago, which allowed McCurry Restaurant to keep its name, his life has changed.

Mr Suppiah, 55, has been busier than ever, receiving congratulatory messages and phone calls from all over the world. Half of them came from interested investors who wanted to open a McCurry franchise in their country.

Indeed, the Indian restaurant owner disclosed that he would be opening branches in Sri Lanka and Maldives by the end of the year.

'So many investors called me after the case, and they said that McCurry food looks very good,' he told The Straits Times at his shop in Jalan Ipoh on Tuesday.

'But I choose to open in Sri Lanka and Maldives because the investors are restaurant operators themselves, so I don't have to worry much.'

Mr Suppiah, who has been running McCurry Restaurant since 1999, said he had just returned from a meeting with some investors in Hong Kong last week. They were interested in developing his business in Hong Kong and Shanghai but the plans were still at a preliminary stage.

His restaurant became world-famous after it won a case filed by McDonald's in 2001 to stop it from using the prefix 'Mc'.

The US fast-food chain argued that McCurry had infringed its trademark and the restaurant could mislead people to associate its products with McDonald's.

McCurry lost the case in 2006 when the High Court ruled in favour of McDonald's, and the restaurant was forced to change its name to MCurry while appealing against the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

On April 27 this year, the Appeals Court overturned the High Court's decision and allowed Mr Suppiah to re-attach 'Mc' to the name of his eatery.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user tankgrrl.

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