A Sri Lankan company renowned for its array of spices, curry powder and condiments recently won a trademark dispute in an intellectual property case against McDonalds, the international hamburger fast food chain. Lanka Spice Limited, (LSL) Makumbura Kottawa, Pannipitiya had made an application for the registration of its trademark logo consisting the word “Mc Curry”.
However, McDonalds Corporation of Oak Brooke Illinois 60521, USA opposed the registration of the mark claiming that it would contravene certain provisions of the Intellectual Property Act. The opposition was based on affidavits, counter affidavits and written submissions submitted by both parties.
At the end of the inquiry, the Intellectual Property Office rejecting ‘the notice of opposition’, concluded that the available facts do not show that the registration of the propounded mark is likely to offend any of the provisions of the Intellectual Property Act. It ruled in the applicant’s favour that, the ‘Mc’ prefix had no merit and since LSLs “McCurrie” exclusively sells raw spices in jars and sachet, the opponent an international chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, did not suffer any loss of business from the smaller producer.
Nalin Pathikirikorale, Chairman of LSL Told the Business Times that their products which have the ‘McCurrie’ logo are widely available in groceries and supermarkets island-wide.
LSL has been in the local market since 1982 well before the multinational food chain entered the Sri Lanka market.
He said the word ‘Mc’ was coined by LSL at its inception because their factory was located in Makumbura and their products were all condiments.
“Now that we have won, we want to put the nightmare behind us and focus on developing the McCurrie franchise. Further, we will now take steps to register the brand ‘Mc Curry’ for a new range of curry bases (masala’s) developed by SISIR (Singapore Institute of Scientific Research) into the Sri Lanka market,” he added.