Say, here's a word of advice for speech therapists and parent entrepreneurs: If you're planning to market materials that help children learn how to say things correctly, do not use the word "say" in the name, no matter how logical or harmless it seems. Otherwise, you may find the mighty fist of toy giant Mattel crashing down on your head.
That's what happened to Super Duper Publications, a company that creates "fun learning materials for kids with special needs." Among those materials has been a series of speech-therapy workbooks and games for kids with autism and other communication disabilities, all with the word "Say" in the names -- Fold and Say, Fish and Say, Speak It and Say It. According to an Examiner report, everything was fine, patents were obtained, no problem was suspected until the company came up with Sort and Say, and Mattel decided that sounded too much like its venerable See 'n Say to live.
Mattel has since sued Super Duper, demanding that all the products in its "Say" line be destroyed (not donated to charity, or given away to families who could use them, but destroyed) and a portion of all profits be turned over. A trial court agreed with Mattel, and so has a circuit court of appeals; Super Duper will be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If your child has benefited from Super Duper's "Say" stuff, or you just like sticking up for the little guy, you can find out more about the company's fight against Mattel on its site Speak Up for SAY. Or do you think Mattel has a point? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by Terri Mauro