An Edmonton burger restaurant has received a cease and desist order from McDonald’s Canada over the name of one of its burgers.
Paul Shufelt, owner and chef at Woodshed Burgers, received notice Wednesday to stop using the name Effing Filet O’ Fish for his restaurant’s cod burger.
“McDonald’s is concerned that your restaurant’s use of Effing Filet O’ Fish, particularly in association with a sandwich or burger menu item, is likely to cause confusion amongst consumers and is also likely to diminish and dilute and strength of McDonald’s trademark,” read the letter from a law firm representing McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.
“In order to protect this reputation and goodwill, the law requires it to take steps to prevent use by third-parties of any trademarks that could result in consumer confusion or dilution of McDonald’s trademarks.”
Woodshed Burgers was ordered to immediately stop using the name and any other trademarks from promotional materials, menus, websites, social media feed, clothing and other signage.
Shufelt said at first he was a bit nervous as a small business owner, opening a letter from a lawyer representing a big corporation like McDonald’s. But after reading the letter, he had a lighter outlook.
“I had a couple of chuckles that they were that concerned over a small, 49-seat restaurant having a burger having a similar name to theirs,” he said Thursday.
Updating the menu and website was easy, Shufelt said. But they decided to get a bit creative with the new name. Enter the new and improved McEffing Fish Filet.
“We’re going to have a little fun with it,” the chef said. “As far as I understand that hasn’t been trademarked by them and we should stay out of trouble or at least have a little fun along the way.
“I get it. It’s their business, they’re trying to protect it. It’s their intellectual property. So I understand it, I’m just kind of shocked they’re that concerned about a little guy like me.”
Shufelt said it was never their intention to rip off the name.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for McDonald’s Canada said: “McDonald’s takes intellectual property rights very seriously. Canadian trademark law requires a trademark owner to take steps to prevent the unauthorized use of its trademarks, regardless of who is using them, or risk losing the rights to those trademarks.”