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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Frisbee, Hula Hoop Not Generic, Says Wham-O

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Wham-O says its trademarked toys have not become generic, in arguing against challenges to its Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Slip 'N Slide and Superball trademarks.

It seeks to enforce an injunction against companies alleged to be repeat violators of the injunction.

Wham-O sued Manley Toys and AW Computer Holdings in Federal Court.

It claims the defendants "have engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to destroy Wham-O's business and the enormous goodwill associated with many of its famous brands."

Manley is run by its principals, Samson Chan, Lisa Liu and Brian Dubinsky, under several alter egos, including SLB Toys USA, Aquawood LLC, AWCH, and ToyQuest, the complaint states.

Wham-O says it's sold more than 100 million Frisbees since introducing the toy in 1957. It says it sold more than 200 million Hula Hoops in just two years after introducing it in 1958. It says it's sold "millions" of Superballs since it in 1965, and "millions" of Slip 'N Slides since 1961.

Wham-O says a federal jury awarded it $6 million in damages and $2 million in attorneys' fees in 2007, after finding that Manley alter-ego SLB violated its Slip-N-Slide trademark. In another case this year, Wham-O claims, SLB was ordered to pay $700,000 for violating its Wave Rider trademark.

It also claims that the defendants "paid a Wham-O senior executive to act as a 'mole' for a period of months and eventually to steal Wham-O's proprietary trade secrets - including gigabytes of Wham-O's electronic designs, business plans, and financial ideas." Wham-O adds that "In that case, defendants intentionally destroyed and attempted to hide electronic evidence of their outrageous conduct."

The complaint continues: "Consistent with their scorched-earth tactics, the defendants' response to the judgments against them has been to engage in extreme efforts to avoid payment. Specifically, the defendant in the Slip 'N Slide design mark matter, SLB, purported to divest itself of all of its assets and liabilities through an unsupervised and unregulated Assignment for Benefit of Creditors under state law. ...

"Defendants' latest strategy involves an attack on a new front: filing baseless cancellation and opposition proceedings against Wham-O's marks at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Specifically, defendants have filed four separate petitions to cancel three of Wham-O's most famous and long-lived trademark registrations: Slip 'N Slide, Frisbee, and Hula Hoop, and a notice of opposition against a pending Wham-O application for its famous mark Superball. These cancellation and opposition proceedings are the subject of this declaratory judgment complaint."

Wham-O is represented by Robert McGahan with Goodwin Procter.

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