Mattel Toy Company– Parents and special needs educators continue to expressed outrage with Mattel for making Super Duper Publications, a company that makes educational materials for children with autism, destroy over $500,000 of special needs toys. The decision was made because the books and educational games have the words ‘SAY’ and ‘AND SAY’ in their titles which Mattel claim infringe copyright. (Update: The original events unfolded between 2004 and 2011.)
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court judgment by Judge Henry Floyd requiring that Super Duper should stop using ‘SAY’ and ‘AND SAY’ in the titles of seven product lines.The court found that this infringed upon two trademarks held by Martel.
Mattel lawyer Frank Holleman demanded that all of the special needs SAY products should be destroyed or Mattel would suffer “irreparable harm.”
Super Duper have been ordered to pay $1 million of its profits to Mattel and $2.6 million of Mattel’s attorney’s fees.
Jacqueline N., a speech-language pathologist from Bolingbrook, Illinois, wrote to Mattel saying:
“This is my second letter regarding the court case against Super Duper by Mattel and let me say I am ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGED! I thought the suit alone for trademark was frivolous enough, but now I am INFURIATED by the fact that materials will be destroyed when Super Duper was willing to donate them to assist children with Autism. Have you people NO MORALS?????”
A speech pathologist from Dayton, Ohio, Lynette M told Mattel that she was:
“appalled at the litigation… I don’t for one minute believe that any of you in your company were concerned that consumers might become “confused” by the products because of the name. Super Duper is highly regarded in the therapy community and provides materials, not TOYS, for individuals with special needs. Therapists and educators are THE primary consumers of their products. For you to say ‘we’ could become confused is an insult to our intelligence.”
Michael V., a father of a special needs child, told Mattel that they were:
“reprehensible… I cannot find one single item in your entire product line that has any redeeming value for children with special needs and now you will squash a company that produces a useful product for my child… you should be ashamed.”
Word of Mattel’s actions against the special needs company have even reached overseas. Hazel a mother and Behavioral Analyst from Limerick, Ireland, said:
“was a fan” of Mattel toys, but she was “very disappointed” with Mattel’s conduct. She noted that Super Duper products were “invaluable in my work with special needs children, particularly those with speech and language delays.” She further told Mattel “What you have done is WRONG. This company was no threat to you and it is a clear case of Might over Right.”
Super Duper appealed this case to the U.S. Supreme Court and is hoping for a reversal in its decision.*
The full article on the NewsWire.com website can be found here
* Clarification: In March, 2004, Mattel opposed a trademark registration for use for the name “SORT AND SAY” on a line of special education magnetic games. A year later, Mattel filed to cancel three other Super Duper registered marks , FISH & SAY, FOLD AND SAY, and SEE IT!, SAY IT! Mattel sued in 2008 and two subsequent appeals in 2010 and January 2011 failed. Super Duper been ordered to pay Mattel and their lawyers $3.6 million in addition to destroying some of its “illegal” products.