• Trademark Infringement

    The case of Uncle Vanya vs McDonald's

Trademark infringement: the case of Uncle Vanya vs McDonalds

25 March 2022

'Uncle Vanya,' a Russian fast-food business, has registered a trademark logo that mimics McDonald's distinctive golden arches, also applying the red and yellow color scheme associated with the McDonald's brand.

The trademark was filed with the Russian government barely three days after McDonald's announced that it will close all its branches in Russia indefinitely, due to the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine. In its application, the new trademark was described as having a business address in Moscow, with the company claiming to provide "snack bar, catering and home delivery" services. Such application was filed after Russia’s State Duma chairman suggested that the country should have its own version of McDonald’s.

Several reports show that this is not the first trademark application which attempted to copy McDonald’s world-famous logo, nor is it the first time that a Russian company has attempted to replicate it. Starbucks, Netflix, and Heineken are just a few of the iconic companies that have already had clone chains set up to replace them.

Trademarks classify as intellectual property that consist of a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identify and distinguish products or services from a specific source. An individual, a business organization, or any other legal entity can hold a trademark. Trademark usage is the act of using a trademark in this manner, making it easier for consumers to quickly identify the source of a particular product or service. For a trademark to serve its purpose, it must be distinctive, capable of being identified quickly. Despite the fact that a registered mark comes with some unique rights, it must also follow certain obligations arising out of law. Persons owning rights to a particular trademark can sue subsequent parties that copy or infringe its trademark rights in any manner.

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