Monday, June 20, 2011

Who Does Mattel Think It Is?

Okay, I admit it, I'm steaming mad. My son, about whom I often write, is 5 years old. He adores superheroes. Simply adores. For his age group, I am quite certain we have one of the biggest superhero toy collections on the planet. One of our favorites used to be Fisher-Price's Imaginext. The Short One, who plays with these toys every single day, always regretted the fact that they didn't make any girl superhero toys. So, he decided to write to the company to ask them to make some - so he could buy them, of course. Unfortunately, he wrote the letter in pencil, so it's a little hard to read (read: impossible), but I'll transcribe it below:

or, in other words:

Dear Imaginext,
I really like your toys. Please make a wonder woman figure because a different company makes
a different kind that I don't like. And can you please make an Artimus (sic) figure Green
Arrow's helper. And can you please make a Miss Martian Toy.

The Short One (okay, he really wrote his name)
Age 5

This is the wonderful response that we just received, a week later:

Actually, here's the whole letter, if you have any interest in reading it.

Now, I am an intellectual property lawyer with a decade of experience, so I know exactly who wrote this letter - especially the paragraph I highlighted above - and why. What I would like to know is whose good judgment decided this rights letter would be a necessary thing to write to a child who is not yet in kindergarten (and, yes, the letter was addressed to him)? Intellectual property rights? Royalties? Licensing? He just wanted a new toy.

Dear Mattel:

We appreciate your timely response. Based on said response, it is clear that you need better legal counsel and more common sense.

The complimentary Mattel magnet with the slogan "Inspring Kids' Imaginations" enclosed in my son's original envelope that you returned to us was quite a surprise. You have certainly stimulated our creativity and imagination while we consider how best to use this gift.

Thank you so much for destroying my child's dreams. We can tell you must be the world's largest toy company simply by the level of sensitivity with which you handled this request.