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04/09/03 . n/a . U.S. National - AFP . SINGAPORE
McDonald's sees red over small food company's Mac-names
SINGAPORE (AFP) - Fastfood giant McDonald's Corp. is trying to stop a Singapore company from labelling its instant beverages and food products MacTea, MacChocolate and MacNoodles, a local newspaper reported.
Since registering the names in 1995, former computer vendor Future Enterprises has been using them on the instant tea, cocoa mixes and instant noodles sold in countries such as Russia and Vietnam, the Straits Times said Thursday.
The McDonald's complaint was dismissed by Singapore's Principal Assistant Registrar of Trade Marks in April and its appeal is being heard in the city-state's High Court.
McDonald's contends that it has built an enormous reputation in its trademarks, especially its food brand names, which consumers have come to recognise and identify with after extensive advertising, the report said.
From 1988 to 1998, its advertising expenditures in Singapore rose from 3.47 million Singapore dollars (2.0 million US dollars) to 11.01 million and its annual sales grew from 77.95 million to 230.89 million dollars.
The senior counsel representing McDonald's in its appeal contended in court on Wednesday that the similarity in names between its products and those of Future Enterprises can confuse consumers who may think they are associated.
He felt the Principal Assistant Registrar of Trade Marks was wrong in thinking that Future Enterprises' eagle logo was enough to distinguish the products, and maintained that "Mc" or "Mac" are essential to McDonald's marks.
Future Enterprises' managing director Tan Wang Cheow said his company used "Mac" to convey a "sophisticated, western, capitalistic American taste" and his company will argue that its products look, taste and are distributed differently.
The case has been adjourned to a later date.
A Mcdonald's spokesman in Singapore was unable to comment, saying the matter is handled by the company's head office in Chicago.