Designer Global Images updated various McDonald’s branding devices, but has now sued the fast food leviathan for more than £1 million. What’s the beef?
Who: McDonald's/Global Images
When: May 2002
The complaining party here was a design outfit called Global Images ("GI"). GI worked for McDonald's between 1986 and 2000 and redesigned numerous McDonald's brand icons including providing a new look for Ronald McDonald and Ham Burglar. Whatever terms governed the relationship between GI and McDonald's, the GI argued that they had been breached. In consequence they issued proceedings in the High Court for over £1m for infringement of copyright. McDonald's use of GI redesign work had, according to GI, exceeded that which had been authorised by the original GI/McDonald's contract.
Why this matters:
Without a sight of the contract by which GI provided its redesign services to McDonald's it is impossible to say just how strong the designer's case against McDonald's is. In a way it would be surprising that an entity the size and clout of McDonald's would have failed to ensure that it initially contracted GI under clear terms obliging them to assign to McDonalds' all relevant rights in all material they supplied in the course of their retainer. However, stranger things have happened and we can only hope that us ad law sads are not deprived by a confidential settlement of the pleasure of reading about the dispute's outcome!