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Jada Toys, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
518 F.3d 628 (2008)
Jada Toys, Inc. (Jada) (plaintiff) sold toy vehicles under the trademarks HOT RIGZ and OLD SKOOL. Mattel, Inc. (defendant) sold toy vehicles under the trademarks HOT WHEELS, OLD SCHOOL, and NEW SCHOOL. Mattel began selling HOT WHEELS in 1968 and spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising the mark, leading to sales of more than three billion units. Jada began selling HOT RIGZ in 2001. Jada sued Mattel, alleging, among other things, that OLD SCHOOL and NEW SCHOOL infringed Jada’s OLD SKOOL mark. Mattel counterclaimed, alleging, among other things, that HOT RIGZ infringed Mattel’s HOT WHEELS mark and diluted its mark. The district court granted summary judgment to Mattel on Jada’s claims and to Jada on Mattel’s counterclaims. Regarding the trademark counterclaim, the district court ruled that Mattel could not show a likelihood of confusion because the HOT WHEELS and HOT RIGZ marks were dissimilar. In doing so, the district court declined to consider other factors Mattel cited. Regarding the dilution counterclaim, the district court ruled that the HOT WHEELS and HOT RIGZ marks were not identical or nearly identical as required to show Jada used Mattel’s mark, despite both marks’ use of the word HOT to convey a similar meaning and connotation, inclusion of a flame, and use of similar colors. Mattel appealed, arguing that the district court should have considered more than just the purported dissimilarity between the marks in deciding likelihood of confusion and erred in ruling that the parties’ marks were not identical or nearly identical as a matter of law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sandoval, J.)
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