McDonald’s is locked in a legal battle over the logo of its new hipster cafe The Corner which allegedly breached a Melbourne pub’s trademark. Picture: Karen Bleier/AFP
McDonald’s is locked in a legal battle over the logo of its new hipster cafe The Corner which allegedly breached a Melbourne pub’s trademark. Picture: Karen Bleier/AFP

Iconic pub at war with Macca’s

A HIPSTER version of McDonald's, the world's most recognisable fast food chain, required some tinkering.

The menu changed. In place of Big Macs and cheeseburgers at the restaurant in Camperdown, in Sydney's inner west, were tofu and quinoa salads, boiled eggs with baby spinach, four-cheese toasties (which actually sound delicious) and cold drip coffee.

But that wasn't enough. McDonald's also changed its branding. Staff wore aprons with leather straps and denim shirts. They called the boutique shop "The Corner" and designed a logo to go along with it.

Doesn't look much like McDonald's, does it?

Maccas, is that you? Picture: Toby Zerna
Maccas, is that you? Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Seriously, where are the McNuggets? Picture: Toby Zerna
Seriously, where are the McNuggets? Picture: Toby Zerna

 

That’s actually a nice apron. Picture: Toby Zerna
That’s actually a nice apron. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

That's where McDonald's got itself caught up in a legal stouch.

In Richmond, a stone's throw from the MCG, the owners of one of Melbourne's most iconic pubs, The Corner, took exception to its name being associated with fries and burgers and Ronald McDonald.

The Swan Street establishment claimed McDonald's breached its trademark when it opened in 2014. Swancom, which owns the pub, wrote to McDonald's to complain on a number of occasions.

They hired lawyers from Clayton Utz to represent them in the Federal Court where a statement of claim was lodged alleging McDonald's and its corporate owner MCD Asia Pacific had created a logo that was deceptively similar to its own and, in doing so, had breached copyright.

 

The Corner Hotel, Richmond. Picture: Tony Gough
The Corner Hotel, Richmond. Picture: Tony Gough

 

The Richmond hotel is a favourite with Melburnians.
The Richmond hotel is a favourite with Melburnians.

 

On Wednesday, McDonald's told news.com.au it had agreed to change the logo, but "the decision to change signage was made prior to the commencement of court action".

The McDonald's spokeswoman said: "The matter is still ongoing and has not been settled."

Lawyers for the firm representing the pub also declined to comment when contacted on Wednesday because the matter was ongoing.

A hearing to mediate is scheduled for early September in the Federal Court. It's expected McDonald's will contest other claims and proceed with plans to continue using the name.

The Corner Hotel sued McDonald's in April. Part of the statement of claim includes that the Richmond venue lost sales after McDonald's established the breakaway store next door to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

 

Fancy a boiled egg and spinach? Look no further. Picture: Toby Zerna
Fancy a boiled egg and spinach? Look no further. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

An offering from McDonald’s in Camperdown. Picture: Toby Zerna
An offering from McDonald’s in Camperdown. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

A roast beef (L) and pesto chicken toastie. Looks good. Picture: Toby Zerna
A roast beef (L) and pesto chicken toastie. Looks good. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Chris Grant, corporate communications manager of McDonald's Australia, said in 2015 that the Camperdown venue was a "lab" for testing new products and that it would not be rolled out nationwide and was not part of a wider strategy to move away from the traditional idea of "fast food".

This website wrote in May that McDonald's global profits were on the way up following the introduction of value-for-money menu items.

Fairfax reported in 2017 that McDonald's Australia returned a whopping $840.3 million to its US parent company in 2016.

Inside the Corner McCafe, visitors will find the restaurant divided into sections where you can help yourself to wraps and takeaway tubs of food like you might find at many other health-conscious cafes.

Elsewhere, there is a pastry cabinet and "lunch station" where diners can choose between a mix of multiple items.

News.com.au reached out to The Corner hotel in Richmond for comment. They did not respond by the time this story was published.

rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith


Tinkering on family farm to one of Holden's top engineers

Tinkering on family farm to one of Holden's top engineers

Mrs Pollock does a lot of work with school students.

Steffens recognised for his tireless efforts

Steffens recognised for his tireless efforts

Community volunteers awarded

Pocket rocket makes a big impression in the states

Pocket rocket makes a big impression in the states

She is no stranger to riding against much older competitors.

Local Partners