AdAge Speaks with Josh Gerben About Recent McDonald’s Trademark Dispute

A trademark application for “McHemp” to be used in conjunction with the retail sales of CBD and hemp products has been opposed by the McDonald’s Corporation.

AdAge talked to Josh Gerben about the likely outcome of the opposition.

It’s likely the fast food giant’s opposition to the McHemp mark is going to be enough to prevent the mark’s registration. Much of this is due to McDonald’s long history of trademark ownership, as well as the ability to absorb the cost of a legal battle.

“I represent a lot of small clients – not the McDonald’s of the world – and can say it costs a lot of money to defend yourself from a big corporation,” said Josh Gerben. Were McHemp and McDonalds to square off in a court, “they’d be looking down the barrel of $50,000 to $100,000 at least,” Gerben noted.

This isn’t the first time the McDonald’s Corporation has sought to protect its name and the use of the “Mc” prefix from other businesses.

“They have this belief, correct or incorrect, that ‘Mc’ is a famous identifier for their brand and therefore, they should prevent people from registering trademarks that use Mc. And they do file a lot of challenges,” said Gerben. “We see a lot of similar activity with Monster Energy around businesses that seek to trademark the word ‘Monster.'”

While we’ll have to wait and see whether the McHemp trademark will be registered, it appears that Gerben’s followers support the smaller company. When asked in an informal Twitter poll whether McDonald’s “should be able to stop other non-food related businesses from using the ‘Mc’ prefix?” 78.6% chose “McPlease” vs. just 21.4% who said “there is only one ‘Mc.'”

Source: Springer, Jon. “McDonald’s v. McHemp-Fast Feeder Fights Trademark Filing by CBD Merchant.” 09 May 2022.

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