• Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
rated:
Watchout anyone who uses the prefix Mc in anything or McDonald's will be on you in a second?


Teen's charity name draws the McIre of McDonald's

You couldn't blame Lauren McClusky of Chicago if she were a bit squeamish about using her last name in this story without fear of reprisal from Ronald McDonald and his legal posse.

For McClusky, 19, finds herself at the center of a thorny dispute that involves a series of charity concerts she's put on over the past three years. She dubbed the event "McFest" (more on that in a moment) -- but McDonald's sees that as an infringement on its trademarks, something the McDonaldland lawyers refer to as "the McFamily of brands."

These include (deep breath): McPen, McBurger, McBuddy, McWatch, McDouble, McJobs, McShirt, McPool, McProduct, McShades, McFree, McRuler, McLight -- and even the prefix "Mc" itself.

"But not McFest," pointed out McClusky, who declined to change her last name for this story. "The whole reason I called it McFest in the first place is my name."

Her original co-chair for the first McFest also shared the "Mc" prefix in her surname, so it seemed a natural. And indeed, not a single McDonald's attorney seemed to object in 2007 and 2008, when McClusky's McFests raised $30,000 for the Chicago chapter of Special Olympics.

But when McClusky applied to have the McFest name protected, McDonald's filed an opposition. So instead of donating funds from her 2009 concert to Special Olympics, McClusky's had to hire lawyers to answer a series of administrative proceedings McDonald's filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. To date, it's cost her roughly $5,000 -- money she wishes had gone to Special Olympics kids instead of attorneys.

The daughter of independent radio promoter Jeff McClusky, Lauren McClusky could of course just change the event name. But that would involve starting from square one in terms of the awareness and name recognition she's already created for her concert series. "It's hard to change the name of something that's already established and locally known," she said.

As for McDonald's actions, McClusky says she's frustrated by the company's desire to clamp down on and in effect penalize a charity event -- especially when McDonald's supports Special Olympics as well. "It has nothing to do with food, arches or their colors," she said. "And our M's are pointy, not curved."

McClusky hopes for a truce that will allow her to keep the McFest name. Still, she's unwilling to make a corporate sponsorship tradeoff along the lines of "McDonald's Presents McFest." For their part, McDonald's representatives maintained that they have no desire to squash McClusky's charitable efforts, and desire an "amicable resolution."

"However, the law requires us to guard against third parties that infringe our trademarks and to take the necessary action to stop those infringements," said McDonald's spokeperson Ashlee Yingling. "We believe the mark at issue, 'McFest,' is similar enough to our brand name and McDonald's famous family of 'Mc' trademarks that it's likely to cause confusion under trademark standards and/or dilute our valuable trademark rights." The company declined further comment, citing the pending litigation -- or, if you prefer, further McLegal action.

McClusky said that at first, she was "kind of honored" that McDonald's would even care enough to respond to her McFest trademark applications. "But when we realized how serious it was, then it just got ridiculous and offensive. They just wouldn't listen."

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/01/17/teens-charity-name-draw...

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.
Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I wonder if the brewery company would interfere with McDonald's mouthpiece Ashlee Yingling if she tried to trademark an ... (more)

Raejeanowl (Jan. 26, 2010 @ 1:26p) |

I wonder if the brewery company would interfere with McDonald's mouthpiece Ashlee Yingling if she tried to trademark an ... (more)

Raejeanowl (Jan. 26, 2010 @ 1:27p) |

Is iGoogle made by Google or Apple? Shouldn't Apple be suing Google? I'm so confused.

qcumber98 (Jan. 26, 2010 @ 6:47p) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Why is this thread here?

They have to actively defend their trademark, regardless of whoever it is, else they could risk losing it.

Ever been to nissan.com? One of the reasons he won is because he was using the Nissan name when the cars were called datsuns.

I think that Mcdonalds should match every cent McFrest spends on lawyers to Special Olympics and keep fighting. Renaming a local event isn't that hard, especially if they can brand it as "NewName, formerally McFest" for a year or 2. I would suggest the name McClusky Fest.

Really? You can trademark "Mc"? Even after it's been used in people's names for thousands of years already?

Also, I didn't know that McDonalds actually liked it when you called them "McJobs"

I never eat at McDonalds anyways. If I'm going to clog my arteries I'll do it with something delicious like Five Guys, not garbage like Mickey D's.

It looks to me like the thread title is wrong. McDonald's is not suing her, they are simply objecting to her attempts to trademark the term McFest. I would bet they were aware of the event and didn't care about her using the name, until she tried to trademark it. Is it silly? Yes. Is it heavy-handed? Yes. Is it their right to object? Yes. Is it their duty to the stockholders to protect the image/brand/name/whatever? Yes. Is McFest going to cause McDonald's to go out of business? No.

ppatin said: I never eat at McDonalds anyways. If I'm going to clog my arteries I'll do it with something delicious like Five Guys, not garbage like Mickey D's.

I wonder if McDonald's has ever been sued by Disney for using "Mickey" as part of their advertising?

hejustlaughs said: They have to actively defend their trademark, regardless of whoever it is, else they could risk losing it.
Trademarks are assigned within specific fields of use. They actually don't have to defend a restaurant trademark against a similar trademark dealing with concert promotion. They certainly have the right to oppose the trademark registration, but not an obligation. Even then, they could negotiate an agreement with McClusky in which she agrees to limit her use of the trademark to this specific purpose, and still retain all of their other rights in the "McFamily" of trademarks.

McDonalds has no choice but to protect the trademark. That said, they should offer to set up an agreement under which they own the McFest name but allow her to use it for her charitable works only.

If McDonalds doesn't sue the teen charity, and then Burger King creates a McKing burger, then McDonalds won't be able to sue Burger King because they are not selectively allowed to defend their trademark. They either defend it always or lose it.

tripleB said: If McDonalds doesn't sue the teen charity, and then Burger King creates a McKing burger, then McDonalds won't be able to sue Burger King because they are not selectively allowed to defend their trademark. They either defend it always or lose it.
That's absolutely not true. As I said before, you don't have to sue someone who uses a trademark in a different field of use. Concert promotion and restaurants are, amazingly enough, not the same field of use for trademark purposes.

Do they not cover intellectual property in your MBA course, or did you just not pay attention?

McDonald's did NOT sue the teen's charity, they filed an opposition:

"But when McClusky applied to have the McFest name protected, McDonald's filed an opposition."

LOL, this has absolutely nothing to do with finance...

I think MCdonalds should Mcsrewthemselves.

McPlop!

McDonald's didn't object until SHE tried to trademark it. I have no problem with them protecting their McLawyer protecing their McTrademark.

Ktremor said: "But not McFest," pointed out McClusky, who declined to change her last name for this story. "The whole reason I called it McFest in the first place is my name."McD's is insane. Their attempt to call this THEIR territory is quite stretch.

arch8ngel said: ppatin said: I never eat at McDonalds anyways. If I'm going to clog my arteries I'll do it with something delicious like Five Guys, not garbage like Mickey D's.

I wonder if McDonald's has ever been sued by Disney for using "Mickey" as part of their advertising?


Are you referring to their nickname of Mickey D's? If I recall, this is a nickname given to them by customers and have never seen it used in official McDonald's advertising materials. I will grant that I have not seen every piece of advertising they've done worldwide so I could be mistaken.

JTFH said: LOL, this has absolutely nothing to do with finance...

I see much more of these threads in FW with the usual protests (and sometimes rightly so). My feeling is that FW (finance) is evolving in several different ways. One of which is beyond just finance topics into social interactions that *may* have financial implications. Note I am not defending frivolous posts, but a post such as this adds information to my financial acumen. It may not have direct benefits now, but in the future If I or someone whom I knew wanted to trademark "McSomething", could possible save lawyer fees and McDonalds wrath.

In short, lets leave room for *potential* wisdom gain. I know this is subjective in nature, but perhaps to err on the side where someone can benefit.

what does McAfee have to say about all this?

pecanpie said: what does McAfee have to say about all this?
As long as they don't sell McCoffee they are ok.

McAfee said: pecanpie said: what does McAfee have to say about all this?

new network connection
then
gate way 192.1868.1.1
mask 255.255.255.0

pecanpie said: what does McAfee have to say about all this?
or MCHammer?

I remember when Mcdonalds was going after McDowells

McNally's McMaps are the best!

I wonder if the brewery company would interfere with McDonald's mouthpiece Ashlee Yingling if she tried to trademark an event something named after herself. (or did they require her to chance the spelling of her name in order to work for them?)

I wonder if the brewery company would interfere with McDonald's mouthpiece Ashlee Yingling if she tried to trademark an event something named after herself. (or did they require her to chance the spelling of her name in order to work for them?)

Is iGoogle made by Google or Apple? Shouldn't Apple be suing Google? I'm so confused.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014

It's time for an upgrade!

After a decade on our current platform, we're upgrading our plumbing. The site will be down for a few hours starting at 10PM CST tonight.

At FatWallet we strive to bring you the best coupons, deals and Cash Back. So please come back and check us out.