AN Australian lawyer has fired back with a lawsuit against McDonald's after the fast-food giant blocked him for registering his nickname as a trademark.
Malcolm McBratney vowed not to back down in the battle that erupted earlier this year, when McDonald's took exception to his use of "McBrat" on the uniforms of a local rugby team.
"What it boils down to is that McDonald's seems to be trying to own not only the McDonald name but everything beginning with Mc," said McBratney, who is a specialist in intellectual property rights.
"There are a lot of people with Irish and Scottish heritage who'd dispute that, including me, and I'm prepared to take them on."
McDonald's Australia spokeswoman Kristene Mullen denied the burger giant was trying to monopolise the "Mc" prefix.
"McDonald's is like any company with intellectual property it wants to protect," Mullen told AFP. "We want to protect our investment, our image and our brand."
McBratney sponsored the Brisbane Irish rugby union team, which adopted the McBrat tag on the back of their shorts because they claimed his full name would not fit.
The company objected that McBrat could be confused with McKids. Mullen said that toys with the McKids logo had been on sale in retail outlets since earlier this year.
But McBratney said a trademark could be challenged in Australia if it had not been used for more than three years, and that McKids had been dormant since it was registered in 1987. His suit seeks to de-register McKids.
"I think it smacks of corporate arrogance that even though McDonald's is not using the McKids trademark in Australia, it still thinks it can block the registration of a separate trademark that has nothing to do with its business," McBratney said.
The Brisbane team is boycotting the chain, once a favourite haunt, in a full show of McSupport.
"Our team, with its Irish heritage, has many Mcs in it and they are all outraged," team spokesman Shane Quinn said. He said the company "really have got to be McKidding."