GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

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Thread: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

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    GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Friday, May 13, 2005

    GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Lanard Toys Inc. ordered to stop selling its vehicle, pay $3.1 million after four-year battle.

    By David Shepardson / The Detroit News

    DETROIT - General Motors Corp. and AM General Corp. won a four-year federal battle to keep a toy military vehicle off the shelves that the companies called a "knock-off" of the Hummer.

    U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow issued a permanent injunction ordering Lanard Toys Inc. to stop selling its CORPS! ATK Vehicle because it infringed on Hummer's trademark design.

    Following a three-day trial in March, a jury ordered Lanard Toys to pay $1.3 million because the company "used the trademark intentionally knowing that it was an infringement." During the trial, Lanard's chief designer said in a video deposition that he had copied aspects of the Hummer. In one model sold previously at Kmart, the box identified the product as a "Corps Hummer." Toys "R" Us advertised it as a "Humvee."

    GM, which has exclusive ownership of the Hummer brand name worldwide, filed suit in March 2001 in Detroit. It has spent $680,000 in legal fees prosecuting the case. AMG joined the case in 2003 and spent $145,000.

    GM went to great lengths to win the case -- even dispatching an accountant to Hong Kong, where Lanard is based, to track down computer sales records of the toy. Tarnow ordered Lanard to repay GM the $13,000 the automaker spent to send the accountant to Hong Kong because he found the company had misled the court about its records.

    Following the jury's verdict, Tarnow said last month that GM and AMG are entitled to attorneys' fees, interest on the award and other costs.

    The Detroit automaker said in a court filing that it and AMG should be awarded $2.3 million, plus $825,000 in legal fees.

    Lanard Toys earned $6 million in revenue from sales of the ATK command vehicle and had used the Hummer design since 1998, the jury found.

    Stephen Wasinger, a lawyer for Lanard, didn't return calls seeking comment. The company said in a court filing Thursday that GM had made exorbitant claims for legal fees, often sending two or three lawyers to every court meeting.

    "Another party should not be obliged to pay GM for Cadillac representation where a Chevrolet will do," Wasinger wrote.

    Lanard Toys has asked the court to reverse the jury's award, saying it was excessive.

    GM and AMG has licensed the Hummer to many toy manufacturers in the last decade.

    You can reach David Shepardson at (313) 222-2028

    Source

    Last edited by IMPALAon20s; 05-13-2005 at 07:41 AM.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Having studied trademark law I understand the value of a trademark and the need to protect it. But for GM to spend $680k to sue a toy company, who is not even a competitor, is pretty pathetic. It's also ridiculous for the court to award $1.3 million in damages for an infringement that could in no way be said to damage GM's goodwill. Shutting down toy companies over simple trademark infringement only makes GM look even more petty and weak than they already do in the face of their declining sales.

    Simply disgusting.
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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    seems like theres alot of trademark lawsuits involving the hummer. Jeep filed suit due to grille being too simliar to its jeep slatted grille. GM filed again avanti/studebaker for its ford based clone. GM filed against the "hummbug" a aircooled vw bug based kit car, forcing that kit car maker to change name to WOMBAT and changing grille.



    but this toy lawsuit is probably the most petty one i've heard. perhaps gm is going to start marketing its own toys, and wants to eliminate competition.
    Last edited by IMPALAon20s; 05-13-2005 at 07:52 AM.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    As bad as this is... this is nothing compared to what FudMoCO has done... Not long after they purchased Volvo, they sued the VOLO Auto museum, located in VOLO ILLINOIS... It was too much like Volvo..


    then there is the harrassment of BLUE OVAL NEWS....
    Last edited by firesho; 05-13-2005 at 08:05 AM.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Quote Originally Posted by IMPALAon20s
    but this toy lawsuit is probably the most petty one i've heard. perhaps gm is going to start marketing its own toys, and wants to eliminate competition.
    Either that or GM is working to protect the licenses it has already granted to toy companies....

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Hey, it's business! A judge agreed that GM should get 2.3 million. The toy company earned 6 million from this thing. That's not right. I don't think this is petty at all. If they'd left this any company could go and produce Corvette and Cadillac and Astro (well, maybe not!) based toys. Why should others make money off of GM trademarks?

    GM doesn't deserve a bad rap... the toy company does from stealing the trademarked design. As for the Hummer-Jeep thing, the judge decided that since Jeep had let GM get away with the 7-slot grille for so long before raising a concern they waived their right. Sounds fair too.
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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Quote Originally Posted by paul8488
    Hey, it's business! A judge agreed that GM should get 2.3 million. The toy company earned 6 million from this thing. That's not right. I don't think this is petty at all. If they'd left this any company could go and produce Corvette and Cadillac and Astro (well, maybe not!) based toys. Why should others make money off of GM trademarks?

    GM doesn't deserve a bad rap... the toy company does from stealing the trademarked design. As for the Hummer-Jeep thing, the judge decided that since Jeep had let GM get away with the 7-slot grille for so long before raising a concern they waived their right. Sounds fair too.
    well, i'd have to admit, you kind of just changed my thinking on this. theres alot of toy companies that pay for licensing, and why should one get away with not doing it. it would encourage more to not pay for licensing as well.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    GM needs all the money it can get. They don't need people stealing their intellectual property for profit. They had every right to persue this.

    I wouldn't want someone capitalizing on my trademarked ideas.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    I still think this one takes the cake. Mr. Nissan owned nissan.com and had run his own computer business off (at the time Nissan was still known as Datsun I guess). Nissan motor company decided to sue him for an exhorborant about of money because of damages based on lost traffic. I think he went out of business and the court said no commercial products can be sold @ nissian.xxx
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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay
    Having studied trademark law I understand the value of a trademark and the need to protect it. But for GM to spend $680k to sue a toy company, who is not even a competitor, is pretty pathetic. It's also ridiculous for the court to award $1.3 million in damages for an infringement that could in no way be said to damage GM's goodwill. Shutting down toy companies over simple trademark infringement only makes GM look even more petty and weak than they already do in the face of their declining sales.

    Simply disgusting.

    GM licences its designs to toy companies (Hotwheels, powerwheels, Tyco, etc...) and those companies pay GM for use of the designs on toys. Why should those companies and GM get screwed by someone that wants to steal there design and make counterfit toys.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfunji
    I still think this one takes the cake. Mr. Nissan owned nissan.com and had run his own computer business off (at the time Nissan was still known as Datsun I guess). Nissan motor company decided to sue him for an exhorborant about of money because of damages based on lost traffic. I think he went out of business and the court said no commercial products can be sold @ nissian.xxx
    whats sad, is i remember accidently going to his site from time to time, and recall the first thing i saw was something like "if you're looking for nissan motor corp ,click here to be forwarded to nissan-usa.com " seems, like he went out of his way to insure traffic got forwarded to correct site. although its probably easier for the computer company to change names, then nissan motor corp, theres times when the little guy should stand his ground.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    I remember Wool-Mart (a small-town wool store here in Canada) tried to get Walmart to not use their name when they came to Canada in the 90's. As you can tell they didn't succedd... and they're probably lucky Walmarts' lawyers didn't jump all over them. Not that an exisiting company, no matter how small, should have to change their name because a bigger guy with a similar name moves to town... but we all know how lawyers can be!
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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Quote Originally Posted by bakerna
    Either that or GM is working to protect the licenses it has already granted to toy companies....
    Exactly, GM allows toy companies to use their cars so long as they go through them. I saw a 2 pack of little die cast cars with the GM stamp on the back, so Im glad GM did this. If I was a company that went through GM and paid them their dues only to see a rink dink operation use the same likeness for free Id be pissed.
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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    I am sorry, but NO ONE should profit off of someone elses work or design.

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    Re: GM wins trademark fight over toy Hummer 'knock-off'

    Ah, more lawsuits. Come on, a toy company. But I understand GM's desire to protect its rights of design and name. But I'm surprised how far they took this legal battle.

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