"There was a concerted effort to not only obtain and copy our device and follow everything we were doing, but then also, when it hit a critical mass, to actually put us out of business," - that's pretty much textbook definition of market competition, not an indication of anything shady.
"Kytch argued in its initial legal complaint that the company didn't truly copy Kytch's device to try to fix McDonald's ice cream machines, but simply to have a competing product it could tout to McDonald's—and McDonald's franchisees—in order to prevent Kytch from fixing those machines." - again, it's perfectly legitimate to try and make a competing product to tout to McDonalds; unless they're violating a specific patent, it's their right to do so; more competition is a good thing to have.
1. McDonald's forced all franchise owners to use this machine that would break often, and could only be fixed by this other company McDonalds had close ties to.
2. McDonald's didn't allow franchise owners to allow this other tool that allowed franchise owners to keep their machines up and working
3. (What you mention) now the other company just copied this tool for themselves.
1 and 2 is much more problematic, given the close ties between McDonalds and Taylor Company.
There's no fundamental difference between McDonalds franchise contract saying that franchises must use only this ice cream machine and the same contract saying that franchises must make BigMacs only according to this exact recipe. If the franchise operator thinks that the BigMac recipe sucks, they don't get to change it or demand a fix - if McDonalds thinks that's good enough, they can take it or leave it and stop being a McDonalds franchise. The same is regarding McDonalds ice cream process; it may legitimately suck, but it's part of the package deal. If McDonalds wants to buy from Taylor and not from Kytch, that's their choice, effectively McDonalds (and not the franchise operator) is the customer here; and if they are a lousy customer, there are other customers to fight for - IIRC McDonalds bought 25% of Taylor machines, so there are many others out there.
And #3 is not a bad or even a neutral thing - reverse engineering other products is great, please everyone do more of it! Good features should be copied and adopted across the whole market (both in hardware and in software), that's the exact kind of competition that benefits the community; and that's a manifestation of the hacker spirit that should be celebrated, not get shamed about. While legal restrictions such as the excessive patent regime and the excessive length of copyright often prevents people from doing that, in cases where it is not prohibited, this is a good thing to do.
While it's in the shop, it falls off the lift: $10,000 damage. Now your formerly "broken" car is even more broken? Is the situation still the same?
Defamatory? I don't think so, but I guess the courts will decide.
It was safe enough that they decided to literally copy it. Unless they can provide contemporaneous evidence that they felt there was a specific aspect of it that was harmful.
At this point it seems like the only reason they said it was harmful was to avoid franchisees from using it, which would quite clearly qualify as defamation.
They "copied" parts of it. We don't know they "copied" it all. I don't know how the device could be harmful, but presumably the harmful parts were not "copied".
Note that i used quotes around copied. I wouldn't use that term because it implies something that is protected by copyright and that doesn't seem to be the case.
A contract between two parties can unfairly harm a 3rd party. Especially if one of the two parties is abusing its market power to push anticompetitive clauses. For example requiring "authorized" car mechanics to buy only overpriced Ford-branded repair tools. This way Ford uses its car marketshare to push into the repair tool market. Tool manufacturers that don't have a car manufacturer backing them simply can't compete.
Of course Ford would probably argue that the markets are related, and that it has a legitimate interest in ensuring its mechanics use adequate tools. That only its own tools qualify as good enough is just a big coincidence..
Hard disagree. I'm finding this saga fascinating. You don't think Taylor lying to Wired journalists, and being called out for doing so, is interesting?
Say what you want about the China social credit system but if there was a way the associated press could blackball Taylor/the spokesperson for Taylor from ever publishing another statement I think the world would be a better place.
McDonald's Franchisees are independent business owners. McDonald's is refusing to fix a problem, and has pushed a potential fix for the problem "out of business".
Not sure what the chances of this succeeding, but now we have Taylor and McDonald's hands dirty in trying to "buy this device and copy it's features and user interface". And lying about it when they said they had "no interest in the device". It's not pretty.
"Who mitms their own machine?!" Well, did Taylor fire the engineers that built this? Or they just want to keep the same limited hw and work the diagnostics part around it?
Its more costly and vastly more negative from a PR perspective, for McDonalds to force franchisees to change ice cream machinery vendors.
Same thing for Taylor upgrading their own machines - with the added cost that they don't have any goodwill to start.
There's an added incentive here that McD wants the legal shield up at all times - they are incentivized to keep machine error rate very low, to the cost of $$ in sales lost.
Consumers greatly benefit from it - we get worse availability of ice cream when we walk in, and we are paying slightly more in menu prices, but the risk of getting poisoned from eating ice cream at McD ends up extremely low.
And that's where the intrigue and accusations of foul play are coming in. It seems like McD's has mandated this model of Machine and Taylor agreed to make it worse (they supply better machines without these issues to other fast food chains). Taylor profits from the service calls and I'd bet some McD's exec are getting kickbacks to keep it that way (by mandating a worse machine that makes franchise owners less money). The Kytch device came along and upset that status quo.
If I wanted to lose money there are less painful ways than being a McD franchisee.
McD's actual business is on real estate/franchise fees. The food business is secondary and is a justification for the first. Guess which part is risky and complicated?
Strangling is not a prerogative of the strongest.
That is NOT market competition...at all and it is 100% shady. Competition is "I make something, you make something better". It's not "You make something. I make something to make it better. YOU try to put me out of business by LEGAL means." That is not competition.