McDonald’s seeks to sell its shuttered Russian stores to a local buyer as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
The Washington Post spoke to Josh Gerben regarding the ongoing trademark concerns the fast food giant has been facing in the country and how this latest decision might affect its intellectual property.
After McDonald’s temporarily ceased operations in Russia, several infringing applications were filed with Russia’s Trademark Office, including a logo for local company, Uncle Vanya, which looked very similar to McDonald’s Golden Arches.
Josh Gerben, a D.C.-based patent and trademark lawyer, says it remains to be seen whether McDonalds’ departure is going to be a voluntarily sale as opposed to a forced nationalization. The Uncle Vanya trademark was later withdrawn, he says, but it really doesn’t matter because Russian authorities in general are not recognizing U.S. trademark laws or government sanctions.
“Is Russia going to allow an orderly transition to take place, and not just seize the business, seize the trademarks?” Gerben said. “Up until now we’ve seen a lot of propaganda, and a lot of posturing from the Russian government. Now we’re going to see if the bark has any bite.”
Source: Gregg, Aaron, et al. https://www.washingtonpost.com. “McDonald’s seeks to sell Russian business that is ‘no longer tenable’.” 16 May 2022.