The Washington Post Speaks to Josh Gerben About Russian Threat to McDonald’s Trademarks

Just days after McDonald’s announced that it would temporarily closing its Russian restaurants, a law firm in Moscow filed a trademark application for a restaurant logo that looks as if the McDonald’s “M” was turned on its side.

The Washington Post and Josh Gerben discuss the firm that filed the application, as well as where the idea might have originated from.

The law firm, says Josh Gerben, founder of Gerben IP, is likely to be fronting for someone else, perhaps a squatter who hopes to trademark the name, Uncle Vanya, and then sell it to a McDonald’s wannabe in Russia.

“This is somebody that might have seen … the member of Parliament make this speech where he talks about making McDonald’s Uncle Vanya’s, and he thinks, ‘I’ve got a great idea. Let me file a trademark application for this,” Gerben said. “This is the way squatters think; ‘I’ll sell it to someone.'”

The Uncle Vanya application wasn’t the only one to try to muscle in on McDonald’s intellectual property in Russia, Gerben said. Another applicant wants to trademark the name McDonald’s written in Cyrillic letters, while another is looking to trademark “McDuck,” which Gerben said is “slang for McDonald’s in Russia.” But neither of these applications included a logo, which may explain why the Uncle Vanya filing got so much media attention.

Source: Carman, Tim. “McDonald’s trademarks in Russia are under threat as Putin aims to retaliate for U.S. sanctions.” 18 March 2022.

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