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Lawyer fights for own name’s sake

Lawyer fights for own name’s sake

A QUEENSLAND intellectual property lawyer and partner at law firm McCullough Robertson has asked all Australians to boycott fast food chain McDonald’s for one day after it recently took action…

A QUEENSLAND intellectual property lawyer and partner at law firm McCullough Robertson has asked all Australians to boycott fast food chain McDonald’s for one day after it recently took action in the Australian Trade Marks Office against him using part of his name in sponsoring a Brisbane football club.

The football club, which has an Irish heritage, is also asking that Australians don’t buy McDonald’s on St Patrick’s Day, calling it a ‘green ban’.

Retired team member Malcolm McBratney sponsors the team, and has a registered trademark name ‘McBrat’, which is printed on the back of the team’s shorts.

McBratney is determined to have the McDonald’s claim struck out, claiming he is “not about to let a US-based multinational tell me or my team whether a derivation of [the family name] can be displayed on some footy shorts or registered as a trademark”.

“Any intellectual property lawyer knows trade marks are important so I’m just following my own advice and trying to have mine registered,” he said.

The football team, Brisbane Irish, is asking all those who celebrate St Patrick’s Day to support their cause by not eating McDonald’s food on that day, March 17. “Everyone’s Irish on St Paddy’s Day and we’re calling on all Australians to show their support and boycott McDonald’s,” said McBratney.

An Irish-born spokesperson for the team, Shane Quinn, said the team was disappointed by the fast food chain’s actions. “Our front row forwards in particular have been big supporters of the McDonald’s products, but not any more — Maccas is banned. It’s pretty sad when a multinational corporation starts bullying the sponsors of community sports teams,” he said.

McDonald’s was unfairly trying to extend its trademark to cover other names starting with ‘Mc’, said McBratney. “This is shaping up to be a real McBunfight over McDonald’s fanatical protection of its brand name.”

“There are a lot of people out there of Scottish or Irish heritage with ‘Mc’ surnames who would be equally annoyed if McDonald’s told them they controlled whether they could use ‘Mc’ or not,” McBratney said.

“While every company should protect its intellectual property, this is taking things too far — it’s the big stick, or in this case, the big shillelagh, approach, he said. McDonald’s is engaging in bully boy tactics and is simply wasting their shareholders’ money pursuing this pointless legal action.”

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