Sidelines: Scoops and Snoops

Patent Nonsense

Time Out; October 2- 9, 1996; UK

Press Index

Would you confuse a Milton Keynes sandwich shop called McMunchies with a branch of McDonald's? Like buggery you would. Tell that to McDonald's, which has written to Mary Blair, the Scotswoman who runs McMunchies, and informed her that only they are allowed to use the 'Mc' prefix. Confused? Let's phone McSpokesperson Peter Warlow:

You own the 'Mc' prefix, do you?

"It's a registered trademark, but we're just interested in restaurants. So yes, we own it in theory."

But not in practice?

"Erm, yes. We own the prefix."

You must think your customers are pretty stupid if you think they can't tell the difference between a McDonald's and a sandwich shop.

(Testily:) "I don't think that is the assumption."

But you don't own the prefix 'Mc' prefix. It's existed for centuries.

"Yes, but it's registered trademark owned by us."

Do you own the word 'happy'?


You know, as in 'Happy Meal'.

"No. Anyone can use that."

What if we opened a sandwich shop called McMillan's? Would you tell us to stop?

"I'm not prepared to hypothesise."

Why not?

"Because it's speculation."

Aren't you embarrassed about this?

"We have millions of pounds invested in our reputation and we have to be vigilant ...."

(Phone cuts off after Sidelines slams it down in disgust.)

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