The company waged an unsuccessful 32-year legal action against McDonald's Family Restaurant which was opened by a man legally named Ronald McDonald in Fairbury, Illinois in 1956. Mr. McDonald ultimately continued to use his name on his restaurant, despite objections by McDonalds.
In 2005, McDonald’s tried to stop a Queensland lawyer, Malcolm McBratney, from using the name 'McBrat' on the shorts of the Brisbane Irish Rugby team. McDonald’s claimed the McBrat name should not be registered because it was too similar to its McKids trade mark, since the word 'brat' is another term for 'kid'. McBratney, a solicitor specialising in trademarks and intellectual property, argued that his family name had been used in Ireland since the 1600s, and that he had a right to use an abbreviation of that name. In 2006, the Delegate of the Register of Trade Marks held that McBratney could register 'McBrat' as a trademark and that McDonald's had no intellectual property rights over 'Mc' and 'Mac' prefixed words.
McBratney, who specialises in intellectual property law, then brought a suit against McDonald's for its registration, in Australia in 1987, of 'McKids'. This trademark had never been used in Australia and can therefore be removed for non-use.