McDonald's fighting Heights eatery named Jus Mac

September 22, 2011 3:57:22 PM PDT
What's in a name? A lot, when you're dealing with a fast food giant like McDonald's. The chain is now duking it out with a popular mac & cheese restaurant in the Heights over its trademark.

Jus' Mac serves everything macaroni. McDonald's doesn't even have macaroni on its menu, but is the name itself enough to confuse customers? Well, both sides are taking their names very seriously.

Whether topped with cheddar or jack, stuffed with meat, or broccoli, Jus' Mac, located on Yale, serves basically just one thing.

"We're a mac and cheese eatery," Jus' Mac owner Kimbery Alvarez said.

But now they've been served a side of controversy from the Big Mac, McDonalds. After the couple filed papers to trademark Jus' Mac, lawyers from the fast food giant sent them a letter, saying in part:

    "We are concerned that the use and a federal registration of Jus' Mac for restaurant services is likely to confuse consumers into believing your company's services and products are sponsored by, licensed by or associated with McDonald's."

"I think I felt so disappointed when I saw this letter. I was like, I can't believe this. They're big, they're huge and we are just small mom and pop trying to make a living," Alvarez said.

Lawyers for Jus' Mac say many other companies use the term "mac." Case in point: What about makers of iPads and MacBooks?

Jus' Mac diners were surprised by the food feud.

"It has nothing to do with McDonald's. McDonald's is burgers. This is macaroni and cheese, so I think it's crazy!" diner Phyllis Bravenec said.

"I think it's silly. Why go after the little guy?" diner Darryl Hickey said.

Alvarez, though, doesn't want and can't afford a fight, hoping to find a resolution so the Big Mac and Jus' Mac can both serve their food their way.

"I think it's just ridiculous. It's not fair for the mom and pops who just want to make a living. No one can fight McDonald's," she said.

McDonald's sent ABC13 a statement saying, "It takes its trademarks to be a very important asset" but it does hope to find a mutually agreeable resolution to this matter, something both sides they agree on.

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