McDonalds sued over Happy Meal toy

01:43, Jan 31 2009
'STOLEN ENERGY' DOME: New Wave icons Devo are suing McDonalds over a Happy Meal doll called 'New Wave Nigel' which the band says steals it's trademarked 'energy dome' hat.

Post-punk pioneers Devo say they are suing McDonald's in the US over a Happy Meal doll that sports the band's signature red flower pot hat.

In April the fast food chain released a series of American Idol Happy Meal toys in the US based on a range of music genres, including Disco Dave, Country Clay, Rockin' Riley and Soulful Selma.

Devo's complaint relates to New Wave Nigel, a toy kitted out in an orange jumpsuit, pink shades, and Devo's "energy dome" hat.

The band also allege that the toy plays a "Devo-esque song".

Bass player Gerald Casale said the band were taking legal action against McDonald's for using their copyrighted hat without permission.

"We are in the midst of suing them," Casale told AAP.


"This New Wave Nigel doll that they've created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed, and it's copyrighted and trademarked.

"They didn't ask us anything. Plus, we don't like McDonald's, and we don't like American Idol, so we're doubly offended."

Comment was being sought from McDonald's.

Devo, who formed in Akron, Ohio, in 1974, are famous for their 1980 hit Whip It, and are credited with helping to usher in the synth pop sound of the 1980s.

The name Devo comes from "de-evolution" - the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed.

Casale said it was ironic the world's largest fast food chain should appropriate the image of a band known for taking aim at the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.

"The very same people that wanted nothing to do with Devo and looked down on Devo and condescended (to) Devo... enough time's gone by that they go, 'Hey, you know those guys are synonymous with what was new about New Wave,"' he said.

"'So if we're going to do New Wave Nigel what do people recognise iconically better than Devo and the red hat?"'