‘Battle of the Brands’ as US Franchises Look to Enter

Already, Asian and European companies are pouring into Tehran to discuss the potential of investing in Iran’s oil and energy, manufacturing and tourism sectors.

A few days after the nuclear deal was signed this summer, it emerged in the media that McDonald’s had its eyes on Iran. Its official website even included an application form for those interested in representing the American franchise and included the following message:

“We have not set a firm date for the development of McDonald’s restaurants in Iran. In the future we may take steps to open McDonald’s restaurants in Iran and if we seek a franchisee to represent us the person will have the following characteristics.”

It’s unrealistic to assume that the golden arches will find their way into Tehran anytime soon. It is seen as a quintessential symbol of American cultural imperialism, what Iranians call “gharbzadeghi,” or “Westoxification.” Even the supreme leader has voiced dismay and said he wouldn’t allow any American cultural or economic influence inside Iran.

With the potential for Western investment after the nuclear deal, it’s important to know that there are ways to prosecute and prevent infringements on foreign brands — regardless of their presence in Iran.

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