Everyone loves a David-versus-Goliath story, but it’s not such a great tale when David actually gets completely squashed (which, let’s get real, is probably the most common outcome).
The latest is the case of small special education publisher Super Duper Publications battling toy giant Mattel in court because Super Duper uses the word "say" in several of its products. That’s right, "say."
Super Duper has (or I should say "had" — wait, can I say “say”? I’m so confused) a line of products that helps kids with autism with articulation and other speech issues. The books have names like “Fold & Say” and “See It, Say It.” Mattel claimed people would confuse them with its toy See ’n Say.
A judge recently ruled in favor of Mattel and ordered Super Duper to destroy all of the products. Super Duper says it wants to donate the products, but the court says they must be destroyed. And to add insult to injury, Super Duper has to pay the billion-dollar Mattel $1 million of its profits from the Say products, not to mention more than $2 million in attorneys’ fees.
I’ll leave the whole fascinating topic of trademarks (yawn) to the lawyers, but this seems like a ridiculous case that should never have gotten to this point. Super Duper is making products that are helping kids learn to talk. If it can’t use the name “Say” anymore, so be it. But destroying all of those books is a travesty, and I hope that when Super Duper hands them over to Mattel, the toy company will do the right thing and get them into the hands of kids and teachers who need them (maybe Mattel can throw in free See ’n Says while they’re at it).