Tech Company Launches $900 Million War Over McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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The founders of Kytch, Melissa Nelson and Jeremy O’Sullivan, are requesting $900 million from McDonald’s and have accused the corporation of false advertising and interference in its contracts with customers, Wired reported.

Kytch invented and sold a device to McDonald’s that looked like a phone-sized gadget that fixed the company’s broken ice cream machines, Wired reported. The fast food franchise owners could remotely monitor and troubleshoot any errors from the convenience of a web or a smartphone interface when the Kytch device intercepted any errors.  (RELATED: McDonald’s Starts Offering Four New Menu Items After Fans Kept Combining The Food Themselves)

In November 2020, McDonald’s ordered the franchisees via email to pull Kytch devices from their ice cream machines and warned them at they violated machines’ warranties, intercepted “confidential information,” and posed as a safety threat that could cause “serious human injury,” Wired reported. Kytch is claiming these accusations are false and defamatory.

Kytch claimed McDonald’s then promoted a new ice cream machine built by longtime appliance manufacturing partner Taylor that is similar to the startup’s, Wired reported. Only a few Taylor devices have been installed.

“They’ve tarnished our name. They scared off our customers and ruined our business. They were anti-competitive. They lied about a product that they said would be released,” Nelson said. “McDonald’s had every reason to know that Kytch was safe and didn’t have any issues. It was not dangerous, like they claimed. And so we’re suing them.”

McDonald’s ice cream machines were broken around the world after the emails had been sent, according to Nelson, Wired reported.

Wired interviewed restaurant owners who said they liked the Kytch device, including one who said it saved him “easily thousands of dollars a month” from lost revenue and repair fees.

Prior to the lawsuit against McDonald’s, Kytch sued Taylor and its distributor for stealing trade secrets, Wired reported. Taylor worked with its distributor and a franchise owner to steal a Kytch device and copy its features, according to the Kytch founders, Wired reported.