McDonald’s Loses the Linguistic Battle

A Federal Court in Malaysia decided today that “McDonald’s does not have a monopoly on the prefix ‘Mc'”.

After reading on the NPR website that McDonald’s had lost their lawsuit against McCurry in Malaysia, I could not help but think about all of the ‘Mc’ businesses in Berlin. I wonder, for instance, what McDonald’s would have to say about the McClean public restrooms scattered around Berlin!

I recently wrote a post about the growing number of ‘Mc’ businesses in Berlin, which now also include a dry cleaner, McHemd, and an outdoor sporting good store known as McTrek. The ‘Mc’ prefix has come to be associated with cheap, fast and good in Germany; I can only guess that it all started with McDonald’s.

It looks like the ‘Mc’ prefix may have similar associations in Malaysia as well, where McCurry is a very popular and growing restaurant chain.  After 8 long years, the federal court decided that McDonald’s does not have a monopoly on ‘Mc’.

The trouble all started when McDonald’s decided that McCurry was their direct competitor- in that case it looks like McFit in Berlin will not have to worry about a similar lawsuit.

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2 responses to “McDonald’s Loses the Linguistic Battle

  1. Old news, surely, if you look back at the sequence of issues surrounding the word “McJob” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McJob). Mind you, I didn’t realize the implications in Germany were Cheap, Fast *and Good*. So has McDonalds really cracked the ‘project triangle’ problem? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_triangle#Example)

    • Thanks for the comment Ozaru. I only assume that a German-speaker associates the ‘Mc’ with something that is cheap, fast *and good* because otherwise I am not sure why so many local businesses would choose to use ‘Mc’ in their names. I find it quite odd myself since in English ‘Mc’ seems to carry negative connotations – as in McJob. In fact that is precisely why I wrote about the ‘Mc’ phenomenon in Berlin.

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