Skip to comments.Girl Spends $5,000 to Fight McDonald's Lawyers
Posted on 01/25/2010 10:45:55 AM PST by BobMcCartyWrites
Three recent headlines convinced me that the Happy Meal® has been replaced with the Politically-Correct Meal® at your neighborhood McDonald's®.
Recently, I came across the story of Lauren McClucky, a big-hearted 19-year-old who lives in the Chicago area and has been using "McFest" as the name for her charitable concerts that raise $30,000 for Special Olympics® in 2007 and 2008. It was only when she decided to trademark the effort in 2009 that the Oak Brook, Ill.-based restaurant chain "lawyered up" against her. As a result, she's had to spend some $5,000 -- about half of the proceeds from the 2009 concert -- on legal fees.
"It has nothing to do with food, arches or their colors," she told one publication recently, and "our M's are pointy, not curved."
The plight of this do-good girl might not have been deemed blogworthy had it not been for some of the restaurant's other efforts which had recently shown up on my "radar" and found a place on what I call my "watch list" of future story topics.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across the restaurant chain's effort to cater to the African-American community via its 365Black® campaign which touts the message, "we believe that African-American culture and achievement should be celebrated 365 days a year not just during Black History Month." In response, I say, what other cultures and achievements are you celebrating?
Today, I learned that the 31,000-restaurant chain had ticked off its Chinese customers while trying to not offend Muslims and ended up apologizing to them. Below is how it was explained in an article in Singapore's Straits Times newspaper:
McDonald's this month started selling cartoon character miniatures depicting the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar, but the pig was replaced by love god Cupid as McDonald's said it did not want to offend Muslims.
Can you see why I'm a little peeved? If Miss McClusky was a black Muslim from China, I seriously doubt that the restaurant chain would have released its hounds (a.k.a., "lawyers") to attack her and her charity over a petty trademark issue. Not in today's politically-correct environment!
“It has nothing to do with food, arches or their colors,” she told one publication recently, and “our M’s are pointy, not curved.”
I know she’s only 19. But Geez! She has a lot of Stupid to overcome. Hope she makes it.
I bought a cup of coffee at a mcdonalds in Elgin three years ago. It is the only time I have darkened their door since late 1995.
Unless she has an undeniable connection to some other entity with a similar name, it would appear she’s trading on McDonald’s name.
I don’t think she is sooo stupid. Her last name is McClurky...so the McFest is a play on HER name (devoid of McDonald’s trademark golden arches, colors, etc).
McD’s should back off, give her Special Olympics a nice donation and call it a day.
I don’t see what mcdonalds sees as far as trademark infringement goes.
Her last name being McClusky, I'd say she has that undeniable connection.
Or does McDonald's own the "Mc" in everything?
Her last name could be McDonald. For what its worth.
But McDonald’s spends billions to protect its name and image. Right or wrong, this little kid hasn’t a chance of keeping “McFest”.
Next up: The McDonald’s corporation will be suing the nation of Scotland for literally tens of millions of violations of copyright.
If she could afford to fight it, I bet she could win. Recent decisions seem to be pointed towards a “loosening up” of corporate capture of unaffiliated trademarks.
Of course since McDonald’s can afford to take the case all the way, she probably doesn’t even have a remote chance.
I would agree with you.
I think we will agree to disagree. That this kid went this far (5k in legal eagle fees) says alot. Her logo is green, its ‘pointy,’ her last name is McClurky, its a music fest run by her (does she McClurky ‘emcee?’ = Mc?) and the proceeds of all her efforts go to a charity???
I think this isn’t worthy McD’s time...it just makes them look bad and petulant.
Product type, logos, colors and font styles are all very relevant factors in a trademark infringement claim. I'm not sure why you think she's stupid based on that quote...
You do know that by that time, Ray Kroc was dead and Joan Kroc had no business relationship to McDonalds anymore, right? Joan also donated $1.6 billion to the Salvation Army.
>I know shes only 19. But Geez! She has a lot of Stupid to overcome. Hope she makes it.
Um, in case you hadn’t noticed her name also starts with ‘Mc’... or is the possibly-hubristic tradition of naming things not allowed if there is ANY relation to some pre-existing trademark... remember that the ‘Mc’ isn’t really an uncommon name-beginning.
Also what happens if some guy named McDonald wanted to start his own hardware store?
>Unless she has an undeniable connection to some other entity with a similar name, it would appear shes trading on McDonalds name.
Her own last name begins with Mc.
I agree, but having worked for a major brand with scads of intellectual property lawyers, I know that the thinking is that they have to attack every possible infringement for fear of setting a precedent.
Damn! I just got sued!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.