McBattle winner the toast of Kuala Lumpur

On April 27 this year, the Appeals Court overturned the High Court's decision and allowed Suppiah to re-attach “Mc” to the name of his eatery. The David and Goliath battle finally ended on Sept 8, when the Federal Court dismissed McDonald's appeal and upheld the Appeals Court's decision.

http://themalaysianinsider.com.my
September 26, 2009

McBattle winner the toast of Kuala Lumpur

McCurry.jpg

Customers arrive at McCurry Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Since restaurant owner P. Suppiah won an eight-year legal battle against fast-food giant McDonald's three weeks ago, which allowed McCurry Restaurant to keep its name, his life has changed.

Suppiah, 55, has been busier than ever, receiving congratulatory messages and phone calls from all over the world. Half of them came from interested investors who wanted to open a McCurry franchise in their country.

Indeed, the Indian restaurant owner disclosed that he would be opening branches in Sri Lanka and Maldives by the end of the year.

“So many investors called me after the case, and they said that McCurry food looks very good,” he told The Straits Times at his shop in Jalan Ipoh on Tuesday.

“But I choose to open in Sri Lanka and Maldives because the investors are restaurant operators themselves, so I don't have to worry much.”

Suppiah, who has been running McCurry Restaurant since 1999, said he had just returned from a meeting with some investors in Hong Kong last week. They were interested in developing his business in Hong Kong and Shanghai but the plans were still at a preliminary stage.

His restaurant became world-famous after it won a case filed by McDonald's in 2001 to stop it from using the prefix “Mc”.

The US fast-food chain argued that McCurry had infringed its trademark and the restaurant could mislead people to associate its products with McDonald's.

McCurry lost the case in 2006 when the High Court ruled in favour of McDonald's, and the restaurant was forced to change its name to MCurry while appealing against the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

On April 27 this year, the Appeals Court overturned the High Court's decision and allowed Suppiah to re-attach “Mc” to the name of his eatery.

The David and Goliath battle finally ended on Sept 8, when the Federal Court dismissed McDonald's appeal and upheld the Appeals Court's decision.

Suppiah told The Star that “Mc” was merely an abbreviation for Malaysian Chicken.

McCurry Restaurant is a small and simple shop, without much decoration, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

It serves typical Indian food — 35 different types of chicken dishes such as chicken curry, pepper chicken, chicken varuval and ginger chicken. It is also famous for fish head curry and Australian goat intestine curry.

The self-service restaurant also has vegetarian dishes, chapatti, thosai and roti prata on its menu.

Suppiah recalled the joyous day when the court upheld the decision.

“The events were phenomenal, they were like a tsunami,” he said. “On the day after the court's decision, my website crashed because it couldn't take the traffic. I received over 300 e-mail messages and at least 50 phone calls from as far as Nigeria and Germany.

“People — locals and even tourists — came to see the shop and congratulated me. My wife even placed a guestbook in the restaurant.”

Suppiah said he has no plans to expand his business in Malaysia at present. For now, he wants to refurbish his shop and widen the variety of food.

McCurry is not the only restaurant in Malaysia that shares a name with a giant organisation.

Another restaurant in upmarket Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, uses the same HSBC abbreviation as the international bank.

The restaurant HSBC, which stands for Hot & Spicy Bangsar Cuisine, was not dragged to court by the bank.

The restaurant is owned by an Indian family but it serves Chinese food. — Straits Times

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