<p>Kytch, a private company that connects ice-cream machines to “the cloud,” created a device that essentially hacks McFlurry machines to fix them.</p>

Kytch, a private company that connects ice-cream machines to “the cloud,” created a device that essentially hacks McFlurry machines to fix them.

Shutterstock / Wachiwit

If you’ve ever found yourself at McDonald’s, desperate for a McFlurry — only to learn that, quite like your heart, the ice-cream machine is broken  — you’re far from alone. In fact, the broken McDonald’s ice cream machine phenomenon is so severe that McFlurry enthusiast launched McBroken in 2020, a website that tracks the McDonald’s machines at every U.S. location and whether or not they’re currently in service.

Fortunately, a California court has ruled in favour of an independent company seeking to make McDonald’s ice cream more accessible for all — or at the very least, fix the pre-existing machines.

Kytch, a private company that connects ice-cream machines to “the cloud,” created a device that essentially hacks McFlurry machines to fix them, much to the dismay of Taylor, the company that actually supplied the fast-food joint with the machines that that are notoriously difficult — and costly — to repair. As reported by WIRED, not only does Taylor sell the machines to franchise owners for $18,000, but keep the machines’ functionality secrets from them, locking them into “pricey maintenance contracts” for years to come. Before Kytch figured a way to get around it, McDonald’s was forced to rely solely on “certified” repair technicians to fix their machines, for whom the wait time could last several weeks.

Once Taylor found out about Kytch, however, they told McDonald’s that the Kytch machines breached “confidential information” and were capable of causing “serious human injury” after taking one from a local franchise. WIRED also reported that Kytch’s creators believe Taylor hired “private detectives to obtain their devices” to accomplish this task.

Kytch has since filed a lawsuit against Taylor, alleging that Taylor started working on its own version of the so-called “dangerous” Kytch system, and a California court has issued a temporary restraint order against Taylor on behalf of Kytch.

“These guys [Taylor] did a really effective job at frightening off all of our customers and investors so we’re hoping the public will support our case in the name of justice, right to repair and humanity,” Kytch co-founder Jeremy O’Sullivan said, via Motherboard. “We still have some diehard customers sticking with us. Though few in comparison to what we once had before McDonald’s and taylor called our product dangerous.”

Taylor now has 24 hours to return its illegally-procured Kytch devices, according to court documents that demand the defendants “must not use, copy, disclose, or otherwise make available in any way information, including formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process obtained by any of them.”

Melissa Nelson, Kytch co-founder, told Motherboard they are “optimistic that the truth will prevail.”

“It’s disgusting that such lengths were taken to steal our trade secrets, destroy our business, and to stand in the way of modernizing kitchens. Kytch is just a small piece of the broader right-to-repair movement. But our case makes clear that it’s past time to end shady business practices that create hundreds of millions of dollars of unnecessary repair fees from ‘certified’ technicians.”

indy100 has reached out to Kytch and Taylor for comment.

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