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Dunkin' Donuts vs. McDonald's in Montgomery County strip mall

Monday - 2/24/2014, 2:30pm  ET

Anyone who patronizes both McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts stores has surely noticed that the former coffee offerings are starting to look a lot like those at the latter — and that the New England favorite's menu, in turn, now boasts a lot more than just Boston cremes and munchkins.

One local McDonald's has evidently noticed as well, and has filed a suit to try to protect its turf at one shopping center in Montgomery County.

The fast food chain has filed a suit accusing its landlord, Baltimore-based Red Mill Shopping Center Associates, LLC, of breach of contract for agreeing to lease another space in the shopping center to a Dunkin' Donuts.

The shopping center's owner could not be reached for comment and an attorney for McDonald's did not return a call for comment.

McDonald's lease for the space at the Red Mill Shopping Center, on 7220 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood, stipulates that the restaurant be free from competition within 2,000 feet from restaurants "serving menu items substantially similar to the items on Tenant's menu," according to the suit, filed Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court in Montgomery County.

The suit cited almost two dozen such menu items, including Dunkin's angus steak big n' toasted ( compare to the steak and egg McMuffin), Dunkin's bacon ranch chicken sandwich (compare to McDonald's bacon cheddar McChicken), chicken wraps, coffee drinks and Dunkin's coolatas, frozen coffee and other drinks which are compared to McDonald's frappes.

The combination Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins shop would also overlap with McDonald's ice cream offerings, the suit stated.

The home of the golden arches — not to be confused with the "golden arcs" of "Coming to America" fame — estimates it will lose more than $75,000 in revenue due to Dunkin Donuts' presence, according to the suit.

"McDonald's will continue to accrue damages on a daily basis for as long as the Dunkin' Donuts continues to operate at the shopping center in violation of the restrictive covenant in the McDonald's lease," the suit stated.

McDonald's has asked the court to rule that leasing to Dunkin' would violate its own lease with the landlord, and to rule that the shopping center cannot lease to Dunkin' Donuts.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.