Fast food chain McDonald’s was one of the first brands to shut down operations in Russia in response to the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine, and it hasn’t taken long for an imitation brand to open up shop.
On March 8, McDonald’s closed all of its 850 locations in Russia in protest to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. In response, an imitation brand dubbed Uncle Vanya’s has filled the gap in the market, complete with a logo that looks very similar to McDonald’s original golden arches.
Said Russian politician Vyacheslav Volodin: “McDonald’s announced that they are closing. Well, good, close down! Tomorrow there won’t be McDonald’s but [there will be] Uncle Vanya’s.”
Upon the news of McDonald’s shutting down operations in Russia, a Moscow-based lawyer immediately filed a trademark for a logo that looks like the big M tilted sideways and turned into a ‘B’ (the Russian character for ‘V’ is in fact ‘B’). The trademark lodged represents “a business of snack bars, cafeterias, restaurants [including] self-service restaurants”.
Incidentally, the name Uncle Vanya is the title of a play by Russian writer Anton Chekhov, published in 1897. The hero of the play, Vanya (a nickname for ‘Ivan’) is a bitter, broken man who has wasted his life toiling on the estate of his brother-in-law, Serebryakov.
McDonald’s has yet to officially respond to the trademark infringement, but I’m fairly certain its lawyers will be going in hard when summoning Uncle Vanya’s for breach of copyright.