RICHMOND’S famous Corner Hotel is taking on McDonald’s in a battle over the fast-food giant’s use of the same name for a cafe in Sydney.
The Swan St pub claims McDonald’s breached its trademarks when it opened The Corner McCafe in 2014 in inner-city Camperdown.
It was described as a “lab,” to test potential new menu items, and does not share the exterior livery of traditional McDonald’s outlets.
Staff have swapped out the usual drab McDonald’s uniforms for denim and leather strap aprons, with food served on wooden sandwich boards.
The Corner Hotel has long been a Melbourne music venue, and features a rooftop beer garden and dining.
In a statement of claim lodged with the Federal Court, the pub’s parent company, Swancom, says it trademarked the name “Corner” in relation to the “provision of food and drink, cocktail lounge, bar, cafe, snack bar and restaurant services; catering services; hospitality services” in 2011. In 2015, it took out a second trademark for “The Corner”.
The pub claims McDonald’s has committed a flagrant breach, as its cafe has continued trading despite Swancom alerting McDonald’s to its copyright on eight occasions via lawyers’ letters and emails.
The matter came to a head when McDonald’s Asia-Pacific applied to register the cafe’s logo, which Swancom argues is identical or deceptively similar to its trademarks.
The pub claims McDonald’s has profited from allegedly wrongful conduct, while it has suffered damage to its commercial reputation and goodwill, and lost sales.
Swancom has asked the court for an injunction banning McDonald’s from using The Corner name or logo, and is seeking unspecified damages, interest and costs.
McDonald’s declined to say if it would rename the cafe, defend the matter, or continue its application to register the logo.
“We do take these matters very seriously, but we can’t comment on litigation,” said spokeswoman Julia Buckland.
Matt Everitt and Tim Northeast, owners of The Corner Hotel, at their rooftop bar.
THE CORNER McCAFE IN SYDNEY
THE CORNER HOTEL, RICHMOND