McDonald's Bullies Teen Fundraiser Over 'Mc' Prefix

Should McDonald's (MCD) control any and all usage of the prefix "Mc"? The company certainly seems to think so. In its latest trademark battle, it's going after 19-year-old Lauren McClusky -- who, as you may notice, has "Mc" in her own name. For years, she's been calling her Special Olympics fundraiser "McFest," but when she went to trademark the name, the fast food giant objected.

"We have offered to help the event organizers cover costs in selecting a new name for their event," a McDonald's spokesperson said. "We have suggested other variations of this word that they could use." But McClusky is having none of it -- she's been using McFest for years and she wants to continue doing so.

It seems ridiculous that a single company could trademark a prefix, but apparently McDonald's does in fact have legal dibs on "Mc." And even if it didn't, clearly the company can afford more in legal costs than a teenaged fundraiser organizer.

Winning this case, however, might not be the best PR move for McDonald's -- it's hard to pick a more sympathetic defendant than a young activist for charity, and McClusky supporters have been calling for boycotts, forming Facebook groups and otherwise expressing their outrage online.

McDonald's has had mixed results in these kinds of lawsuits in the past -- Malaysia recently ruled in favor of a McCurry chain there, saying a reasonable person would not confuse that company with McDonald's.