Canadian toy and entertainment company Spin Master is suing Mattel in connection to the California toymaker’s Mecard branded toys. Spin Master claims that Mattel’s Mecard products infringe on at least two of its patents, and is seeking damages as well as a permanent injunction.
The patent rights in question protect the transformation mechanism associated with Spin Master’s Bakugan toys (pictured). In the recently filed proceedings, Spin Master alleges that Mattel used its patented technology in its Mecard toys to create dynamic toy transformations.
Korean toy and entertainment company Sonokong previously distributed Spin Master’s Bakugan toys. In 2016, Mattel inked an agreement with Sonokong that saw the company become Mattel’s primary distribution partner in South Korea. Additionally, Mattel acquired a 12% equity stake in Sonokong. According to Spin Master, it has obtained a favorable judgment of patent infringement against a US reseller of certain prior Turning Mecard products in US Federal Court.
This US lawsuit follows three other patent suits relating to Bakugan technology and Mecard toys in Canada, Mexico and Australia, all three of which are ongoing. Additionally, Spin Master has filed a number of suits (in the US, the UK and Canada) alleging that the Chinese-affiliated Alpha Group infringed on Spin Master’s patents by making and selling its Screechers Wild! products.
The Mattel suit comes as Spin Master plans to relaunch the Bakugan property in 2019. The toy line is based on the Bakugan TV series that launched in North America in 2007 after first hitting toy shelves in Japan. The sphere-like orbs pop open to unveil powerful Bakugan warrior action figures, and the full line includes game sets, collectible booster packs, battle arenas and wrist launchers.
The lawsuit also arrives as ex-Maker Studios chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz takes the helm at Mattel, following outgoing CEO Margo Georgiadis’ departure last week.