McDonald’s Triumphant in “Mc” Trademark Dispute
An individual who wanted to trademark “BioMcDiesel” won’t be allowed to do so according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which ruled (McDonald’s Corp. v. Joseph, July 14, 2014, Bergsman, M.) that consumers would likely confuse the proposed biofuel mark with McDonald Corp.’s family of “Mc” trademarks.
The applicant, Joel Joseph, filed an intent-to-use application to register the trademark “BioMcDiesel,” in standard character form, for biodiesel fuel. McDonald’s opposed this registration for several reasons, including that “BioMcDiesel” could be construed as part of McDonald’s family of “Mc” formative marks and it had the “likelihood of confusion.” The applicant conceded that that “Mc” family of marks is famous and has been in use much longer than his application filing date.
The applicant’s mark, “BioMcDiesel” has the “Mc” formative in the middle of the mark with a generic term following it, which does not distinguish it enough from McDonald’s marks since its family of marks has such items as Chicken McNuggets, Egg McMuffin, and Sausage McMuffin.
The applicant’s biodiesel fuel is an alternative fuel for diesel engines or can be used as an additive to standard diesel fuel. It can be made from used fryer grease, also known as yellow grease. McDonald’s is one of the largest suppliers of yellow grease and has received media publicity for its recycling programs. It promotes its sustainability programs, including its recycling efforts, on its website (McDonalds.com).
A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO BIRTH CONTROL VS. RELIGIOUS RIGHTS
On June 30th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of three family-owned businesses, with the majority of the court saying that businesses can refuse to pay for certain forms of contraception they find “morally repugnant.” At issue are four contraceptives known as abortifacients which are contraceptives that prevent ovum implantation or cause a miscarriage shortly after becoming pregnant.
In writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the Obama White House already provided an opt-out for nonprofit religious corporations by allowing an outside insurance company to pay for birth control and felt this should also apply to for-profit employers. It was suggested by the court that the Government could assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections.