169 stores to continue in north, east India under McDonald's brand: Bakshi

Vikram Bakshi, the estranged partner of McDonald's, on Thursday said the 169 outlets he runs in north and east India will continue to operate under the US brand.

McDonald's, which had last month terminated franchise pact that essentially meant the 169 outlets cannot use its trademark, said it would enforce its legal right to refrain Bakshi from using its intellectual property.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) today refused any interim relief to Bakshi, who had sought a stay on franchise termination by the US-based fast food chain major.

This left the fate of 169 McDonald's stores in north and east India hanging by a thread as CPRL's licence to operate the outlets lapsed on September 5.

CPRL is an equal joint venture between McDonald's and Bakshi.

In a statement, Bakshi said he asked Justice G S Singhvi, who has been appointed as administrator on the board of CPRL, to call for a board meeting to discuss the situation after today's hearing.

"The administrator shall be requested to call for a board meeting at the earliest so as to discuss the above," said Bakshi in a statement.

He added: "Till a decision is taken by the board of CPRL, it is business as usual."

However, McDonald's, which had on August 21 terminated the franchise agreement, said it would enforce its legal right to refrain Bakshi from using its name, system, trademark, designs and its associated intellectual property, among others.

"We will continue to take steps to exercise our legal and contractual rights and enforce the termination," McDonald's India Private Limited (MIPL) said in a statement.

McDonald's clarified: "Following the NCLAT hearing today, the termination notice remains effective as of September 6, which requires CPRL to cease the use of the McDonald's system and its associated intellectual property."

Earlier, on September 6, Justice Singhvi had advised both the sides - Bakshi and McDonald's - to wait till the hearing of the NCLAT, which was today.

An NCLAT bench headed by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya has issued a direction to list on September 21 Bakshi's licence termination petition along with the original one filed by McDonald's.

On September 21, NCLAT will also hear the plea of McDonald's against the order of the NCLT reinstating him as the Managing Director of CPRL.

Bakshi was ousted from the post at McDonald's franchisee in August 2013, following which he approached the NCLT in September the same year. He has been at loggerheads with McDonald's over management of CPRL.

He was reinstated as the MD of CPRL by NCLT on July 14 following which McDonald's approached the appellate tribunal.

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