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Mattel Playing Hardball in Toy Trademark Case

January 01, 1998|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mattel Inc. has filed suit against a Fremont, Neb., man, claiming trademark infringement in connection with a business he runs refurbishing Sizzlers cars. Mike Grove, 36, the author of a book about Sizzlers, said he donates the refurbished cars to sick children in hospitals. Mattel, which stopped making the cars in 1978, said it has been harmed by Grove's use of the Sizzler name. It isn't clear whether Mattel owns the trademark on the name, however. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave a company called Centuri permission to use the Sizzler name for toy cars in 1995. Grove said Mattel made a settlement offer in which Grove would have to agree to pay Mattel 5% of what he makes from a sideline business repairing Sizzler cars for collectors and 10% of royalties from his book. Mattel has also sued the publisher of a magazine for Barbie collectors, alleging unauthorized use of the Barbie trademark.

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