The well-known toy manufacturer, designer, marketer and distributor Mattel, Inc, registered on NASDAQ with the symbol MAT, www.mattel.com has been involved in a legal dispute with a small company that specializes in teaching materials for Special Needs and Autistic children, over the trademarked word ‘Say.’
A search of the US Trademark database reveals Mattel owns the trademark for the words, “See ‘n Say” [Serial Number 85078690], which is the name of one of their many toys for children.
The US Trademark database also shows that Super Duper owns the trademark for “Sort and Say” (Serial Number 78252179).
A search through Google Patents (http://www.google.com/patents) proved inconclusive as it shows numerous patents with the words See and Say as well as patents for Sort and Say. Other products using the word include: Fish & Say, Fold and Say, and See It!, Say It!
Sort and Say is a magnetic sorting game that has been used by families and professionals who have worked with Special Needs and Autistic Children for 24 years. The See ‘n Say product is an electronic pull toy used by children for the past 40 years. An advocate website, unrelated but passionate on behalf of the small business, posted Mattel’s alleged responses to a few of their queries. (http://speakupforsay.com/What-Mattel-Says.php). In that webpage, a Mattel representative reportedly states, “The case began when Super Duper Publications tried to register trademarks in the toy category. These trademarks are very similar to the famous Mattel SEE ‘N SAY and THE FARMER SAYS registered trademarks that Mattel has used for over 40 years.”
Super Duper Publications is known by many families and organizations that work with Special Needs and Autistic children, and is a mom and pop company with deep local roots in Greenville, South Carolina. Coincidentally, one of Mattel’s lawyers on this case, Frank S. Holleman III, of the Wyche Law Firm, is running for State Superintendent of Education and of Public Education in the State of South Carolina.
Mattel reportedly net $528.7M in the last fiscal year (http://www.answers.com/topic/mattel-inc). Breaking reports say the small business has allegedly been ordered to pay Mattel $1 million, plus interest, $2.6 million in attorney’s fees, plus interest, and had to pledge $4 million of its assets (including personal assets of the owners) in order to get the appeal bond in this case.
Mattel’s website states, “Mattel is recognized among the “100 Best Corporate Citizens,” as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” and as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”