New Delhi: McDonald’s India Pvt. Ltd on Wednesday approached the Delhi high court to challenge the alleged unauthorized use of the US-based burger chain’s intellectual property (IP) by its north and east India licencee Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd (CPRL), a person in the know said, seeking anonymity.
CPRL, a joint venture between McDonald’s India Pvt. Ltd (MIPL) and Vikram Bakshi, operates 169 McDonald’s outlets across north and east India.
The matter has been listed for hearing on Thursday before a bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw. On 21 August 2017, McDonald’s India had terminated its franchise agreement with CPRL, citing “default in payment of royalties by CPRL" as the primary reason. As a result, CPRL was supposed to cease using the McDonald’s system (which includes proprietary rights in McDonald’s names, trademarks, designs, branding, operational and marketing practice and policies, and food recipes and specifications) and its associated intellectual property from 6 September 2017.
However, Bakshi continued to operate the restaurants. When contacted, Bakshi said he had not received a notice about McDonald’s plea in high court alleging unauthorized use of its IP and was hence not aware of the matter. McDonald’s India did not respond to an emailed query from Mint.
The high court will also hear McDonald’s India’s plea to enforce a London arbitration court award that had asked Bakshi to sell his stake in CPRL and Bakshi’s plea challenging the same on 11 January.
This comes a day after the Delhi high court dismissed McDonald’s India’s plea against the Centre, challenging the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) right to issue a contempt notice in a plea filed by Bakshi, alleging that the termination of the franchise agreement violated an earlier NCLT order of 13 July 2017, which had asked McDonald’s Corp. to refrain from interfering in the smooth functioning of CPRL and all its 169 restaurants.
McDonald’s challenge to the NCLT order of 13 July is pending in National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
The McDonald’s-Bakshi feud goes back to 2013 when the former had voted against the re-election of Bakshi as the managing director of CPRL. Bakshi had challenged his removal at the Company Law Board (now NCLT), accusing McDonald’s India of mismanagement and oppression. NCLT reinstated Bakshi as managing director in July 2017.