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McDonald’s Says Shake Last Straw

August 14, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ McDonald’s Corp. and a small ice cream company are in the thick of it over a milk shake product called ″Quick Thaw McStraw.″

A spokesman for McDonald’s says the company wants only to protect its good name, but the president of Roney Ice Cream Co. of Aurora says he thinks it’s more like the small entrepreneur vs. the corporate giant.

Dennis Roney, president of Roney Ice Cream, has been marketing the quick- thawing milk shake for nearly two years. But when the company applied for trademark protection of the product, McDonald’s Corp. cried foul.

McDonald’s has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office not to grant Roney the trademark, arguing the name is a violation of the ″Mc″ trademark it holds on a family of food products.

McDonald’s spokesman Robert Keyser said Tuesday that Roney Ice Cream is using the incident to elicit media attention and that McDonald’s has its own reputation to consider.

″We feel that if there’s even one McDonald’s consumer who’s confused through the use of another product with the ‘Mc’ prefix, we think it’s wrong,″ Keyser said. ″If we let this confusion go unchallenged, it could negatively affect all our other ‘Mc’ trademarks and our reputation.″

Keyser said part of McDonald’s objection stems from the marketing of ″Quick Thaw McStraw″ in schools.

″Children in elementary and junior high school ... really don’t have graduate degrees in marketing and have no way of knowing there is no association with McDonald’s. They already know about McDonald’s - they’re all friends of Ronald already,″ he said.

But Roney said the name of the frozen product stems from the fact that it quickly thaws for use when left at room temperature, and he added that McDonald’s should pick on a company its own size.

″We simply can’t let this pass,″ Roney said. ″This is a case of a corporate giant picking on a smaller company with a successful product.″

When the company was deciding on the name, they were more concerned the creators of a cartoon character, ″Quick Draw McGraw,″ would object to the name, and not the Oak Brook-based McDonald’s, he said.

Roney said the case will probably be settled between the two companies outside of the trademark office or be arbitrated by a panel of trademark office judges. ″We are very confident that we’re right and they’re wrong,″ he said.

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