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Thread: Mattel no longer owns the rights to MOTU?

  1. #51
    SoH Supporter He-Dad's Avatar
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    The part that confuses me about all of this is how Mattel won ownership rights in 2014 when they went after Donald Glut if they had already sold them in the 90s.

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  2. #52
    Heroic Warrior Jeevesosiris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoryLiger View Post
    So in 2024 when MOTU 5: Disco Skeletor's Revenge comes out in theaters, Hasbro could have the rights and flood the market with those little 2.5 inch figures they like to do for all the Marvel movies? The horror, the horror...
    You have no idea how much I would pay so much to see this film...
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Dad View Post
    The part that confuses me about all of this is how Mattel won ownership rights in 2014 when they went after Donald Glut if they had already sold them in the 90s.
    According to all this, Mattel still has developmental/vintage rights. But why DreamWorks was on the side lines for this case battle is puzzling. I would think it would've been a joint case battle based on all this unveiling info thrown around in this thread.

  4. #54
    Heroic Warrior Swanmarsh's Avatar
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    Reading this thread is like opening the local newspaper to discover your parents have divorced or going home to dinner to be told you were adopted as a baby. It just seems so wrong for some reason. And so unexpected.
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  5. #55
    Heroic Warrior Pottie's Avatar
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    As far as I can understand is that Mattel owns the license, but Super7 will produce MOTU products under the license from Mattel!!
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  6. #56
    Heroic Warrior Amentep's Avatar
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    With respect to the Don Glut lawsuit, having brought it up earlier and then thought about it, given that Mattel is still maintaining the copyright/trademarks for now, Mattel would be a party to any lawsuit that defended those.

    And if memory serves, Mattel actually started the suit to get a judgement of ownership after Glut had indicated his plans to try and reassert his rights under the copyright revisions that allowed creators to attempt to reassert ownership of transfered rights (the contention of the suit was part whether there were rights or was it work for hire followed by even if there were rights, did Glut act in a timely manner to assert those rights, as I recall)

  7. #57
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    It's certainly not impossible for Mattel to do something foolish with a property, but this still doesn't make any sense.

    1. If Mattel doesn't own the brand and merely holds the rights to make action figures based on it, why in the world are all of these other companies working with Mattel so closely?
    2. If Mattel doesn't own the brand and merely holds the rights to make action figures based on it, why do the copyrights on the Dark Horse publications say MOTU is owned by Mattel and not that MOTU is owned by Dreamworks?
    3. If Mattel doesn't own the brand and merely holds the rights to make actions figures based on it, why do we not hear of the other companies that produce MOTU material securing the rights to do so from Dreamworks?


    What would make sense is that Mattel owns the brand and not necessarily the right to make toys based on every character from Entertainment properties based on the brand. The exception would be characters made in the 1980s until securing Filmation rights a few years ago. It would make sense for Mattel to have to pay royalties based on those toys.

    Again, I'm not trying to be contentious, but we've never heard any of this before.

    If I understand what is being argued, then basically we have something like this:

    Mattel: "Hey, 1990s entity that we sold He-Man to, do you want to buy Masters of the Universe?"

    1990s Entity: "Sure."

    Mattel: "Okay, we'll sell it to you as long as we retain the rights to make toys, sign off on all licenses, and get to be called the owners of the brand even though you own it now."

    1990s Entity: "Sounds odd. But you won't actually own the brand so why should we say you do."

    Mattel: "Our secret."

    1990s Entity: "Okay."

    I'm not expert on the legalities of copyrights and brands, but it seems that if Mattel didn't own the brand, you'd get something like "He-Man created by Mattel" or something like that that you find on Superhero properities ("Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger"). But everything I've seen says Mattel OWNS Masters. Something isn't adding up.
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  8. #58
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    I'm taking all of this with a grain of salt until we get a confirmation or denial from one of the higher-ups here on the forums. I highly doubt Mattel or Super 7 is going to comment on this to the average fan. And ToyGuru has decided to bow out after dropping all this info.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emiliano
    I'm not saying that what you reported is false, I for one don't know all the details of what was sold in the nineties (what I was told it was that they sold only the entertainment rights). I just find it very confusing.
    For example, you explained that the only reason Super7 is able to do MOTU articulated figures now is because Mattel passed on his first right to do them in 2017. So basically, they went to Dreamworks and got the license from them (which is technically true), with no involvement by Mattel whatsoever.
    But, letting aside that Super7 still has to get approval from Mattel for everything they do (I know that for a fact as our Art Portfolios have been approved by Mattel, not Dreamworks), a similar scenario from years ago seems to completely contraddicts what you say:
    In 2005, the 200x series closed. They then passed on doing articulated figures in 2006, creating a similar scenario to 2017.
    Four Horsemen and NECA wanted to continue the line on their own, but they couldn't because Mattel would not license the toys to anybody.
    If Mattel had refused the first pass, why then was different from now?
    Last edited by Kesmai; January 5, 2017 at 10:47am.

  9. #59
    Heroic Warrior Amentep's Avatar
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    As I understand what was posted, the deal between Mattel and Hallmark/Entertainment Rights/Classic Media/Dreamworks was that Mattel maintained ownership of the copyrights until 2023.

    After looking through Mattel's Annual Reports, I couldn't find any evidence of a deal to sell the line (and in fact the line was only mentioned when they relaunched the show), but you'd think the loss of an IP would be important to investors.

    So my theory would be - and after some surface poking around I can't find conclusive proof one way or the other about this happening or not - would be something like this:

    {begin SPECULATION}
    A deal exists, but it is not a specific ownership deal. The deal allows Mattel to continue to exploit their toy line and hold ownership on the copyright/trademarks while the other half (now Universal via Dreamworks Classics) is allowed to exploit all the IPs and copyright/trademarks outside of toys without having to get explicit approval from Mattel for each deal. Each entity pays a licensing fee to the other for the benefit of this deal. If Mattel makes a toy, Dreamworks gets a percentage; if Dreamworks licenses a TV shirt with the Filmation He-Man on it, Mattel gets a percentage. In 2023, an automatic renewal is initiated unless Dreamworks and Mattel decide to go their separate ways.

    One of the biggest barriers (I'd think) to exploiting He-Man in non-toy media would be that any entity that wanted to license the IP would have to deal with two owners - the basic IP from Mattel and the Filmation IP from Dreamworks Classics. A deal like above would make one entity the deal partner simplifying matters.
    {/end SPECULATION}

  10. #60
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Here's a question: we have a long standing thread for updated trademark filings; does anyone know how to determine what company filed those requests? If Dreamworks or Universal is filing for trademarks of things like Spikor, then we have our answer. If it's Mattel, though, then there are more questions (how could Mattel file for a trademark for something they don't own?). I do know from what's been said for many years that the rights are complicated (probably a major reason any movie has been so long in coming) from the sell-off of the entertainment rights so long ago, so this might not be as surprising a situation as folks seem to think if true.
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  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    Here's a question: we have a long standing thread for updated trademark filings; does anyone know how to determine what company filed those requests? If Dreamworks or Universal is filing for trademarks of things like Spikor, then we have our answer. If it's Mattel, though, then there are more questions (how could Mattel file for a trademark for something they don't own?). I do know from what's been said for many years that the rights are complicated (probably a major reason any movie has been so long in coming) from the sell-off of the entertainment rights so long ago, so this might not be as surprising a situation as folks seem to think if true.
    Doing Copyright and Trademark searches I don't see any irregularities with other companies filing for toy names or copyright of toys.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Entertainment rights and licensed things like ornaments is another story which we already knew about.

  12. #62
    Heroic Warrior Toyguru's Avatar
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    Mattel's trademarks are for toy and game products, the catagory of the brand they have. Hence the constant name trademarks and use on shipper boxes.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    Mattel's trademarks are for toy and game products, the catagory of the brand they have. Hence the constant name trademarks and use on shipper boxes.
    But they lose this in 2023 is what you're saying and they will no longer be able to tout it as one of "their" brands.

  14. #64
    Heroic Warrior Toyguru's Avatar
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    That was my understanding when I left three years ago. But Mattel would need to comment beyond what I recall. I do not speak for Mattel and anything could have happened in the last three years to change things. Hasbro bought back GI Joe ent rights after all. You ever know what the future will
    Bring.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amentep View Post
    As I understand what was posted, the deal between Mattel and Hallmark/Entertainment Rights/Classic Media/Dreamworks was that Mattel maintained ownership of the copyrights until 2023.

    After looking through Mattel's Annual Reports, I couldn't find any evidence of a deal to sell the line (and in fact the line was only mentioned when they relaunched the show), but you'd think the loss of an IP would be important to investors.

    So my theory would be - and after some surface poking around I can't find conclusive proof one way or the other about this happening or not - would be something like this:

    {begin SPECULATION}
    A deal exists, but it is not a specific ownership deal. The deal allows Mattel to continue to exploit their toy line and hold ownership on the copyright/trademarks while the other half (now Universal via Dreamworks Classics) is allowed to exploit all the IPs and copyright/trademarks outside of toys without having to get explicit approval from Mattel for each deal. Each entity pays a licensing fee to the other for the benefit of this deal. If Mattel makes a toy, Dreamworks gets a percentage; if Dreamworks licenses a TV shirt with the Filmation He-Man on it, Mattel gets a percentage. In 2023, an automatic renewal is initiated unless Dreamworks and Mattel decide to go their separate ways.

    One of the biggest barriers (I'd think) to exploiting He-Man in non-toy media would be that any entity that wanted to license the IP would have to deal with two owners - the basic IP from Mattel and the Filmation IP from Dreamworks Classics. A deal like above would make one entity the deal partner simplifying matters.
    {/end SPECULATION}
    I know it's only speculation, but that makes more sense to me.
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  16. #66
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    Here's a question: we have a long standing thread for updated trademark filings; does anyone know how to determine what company filed those requests? If Dreamworks or Universal is filing for trademarks of things like Spikor, then we have our answer. If it's Mattel, though, then there are more questions (how could Mattel file for a trademark for something they don't own?). I do know from what's been said for many years that the rights are complicated (probably a major reason any movie has been so long in coming) from the sell-off of the entertainment rights so long ago, so this might not be as surprising a situation as folks seem to think if true.
    Here's an example:

    Word Mark SAVAGE CAT OF SKELETOR
    Goods and Services IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: TOY ACTION FIGURES AND ACCESSORIES THEREFOR. FIRST USE: 20110203. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20110203
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Serial Number 85161837
    Filing Date October 26, 2010
    Current Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1B
    Published for Opposition April 19, 2011
    Registration Number 3989046
    Registration Date July 5, 2011
    Owner (REGISTRANT) MATTEL, INC. CORPORATION DELAWARE M1-1518 333 CONTINENTAL BOULEVARD EL SEGUNDO CALIFORNIA 90245
    Attorney of Record MATT SOLMON
    Prior Registrations 1212574;3051250
    Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "CAT" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
    Type of Mark TRADEMARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

    You can search here: http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.e...803:6r47ju.4.1

  17. #67
    Heroic Warrior Durendal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swanmarsh View Post
    Reading this thread is like opening the local newspaper to discover your parents have divorced or going home to dinner to be told you were adopted as a baby. It just seems so wrong for some reason. And so unexpected.
    It's odd for sure, but not as emotionally traumatizing as your analogies imply. Considering how Mattel has treated MOTU with apathy and even downright bungled it in the last 30 years since the vintage line was axed, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing another company snap up the rights in 2023 and actually inject some robust energy into it. I feel like getting MOTU away from Mattel and into the hands of someone with actual vision could only be beneficial at this point.

  18. #68
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    I've always been intrigued by business copyright/trademark research and discussion. I hope Val or someone else here can give us a definitive answer on all of this otherwise I guess we wait 6 years until 2023 to see if Mattel loses their MOTU rights.

    If no one else with authoritative long time Mattel knowledge and rapport steps up and contradicts this information then we may have to assume this is at least somewhat true and they can't speak of it out of fear of breaking confidentiality reasons.
    Last edited by Kesmai; January 5, 2017 at 02:53pm.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swanmarsh View Post
    Reading this thread is like opening the local newspaper to discover your parents have divorced or going home to dinner to be told you were adopted as a baby. It just seems so wrong for some reason. And so unexpected.
    Right?!
    I was all:

  20. #70
    Council Elder Tallstar's Avatar
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    *shaking and crying*

    *regains composure*

    What about the battle with Donald Glut, though?

    http://variety.com/2014/film/news/ma...se-1201128990/

  21. #71
    Heroic Warrior Amentep's Avatar
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    If Mattel is the current rights holder - even if it's contractual, I'd think they'd still be required to defend the rights.

    Also, significantly, Mattel sued Glut before he could file suit so that Mattel could get a ruling on creatorship after Glut made claims of creatorship. They'd be in a better position to argue the origins than DreamWorks Classics.

    So I don't think the lawsuit really proves/disproves anything

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
    Here's the question no one seems to be asking....Why did they sell the rights originally??? And why would they Mattel created He-Man...

    They should have done what Hasbro did when they bought back the cartoon rights for G.I. Joe,Transformers etc. they own EVERYTHING that covers that property...Mattel should have acquired all of the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons years ago...doesn't make sense
    Funny how things get "ignored" if someone is trying to find out nonsense things about Dreamworks figures made etc. how about the IMPORTANT reason when and why did Mattel SELL MOTU


  23. #73
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    I know that The Loyal Subjects had to work with both Mattel and Dreamworks in the approvals process developing their action vinyls, for what that's worth.

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by snake_mole_hill View Post
    I know that The Loyal Subjects had to work with both Mattel and Dreamworks in the approvals process developing their action vinyls, for what that's worth.
    That's because they made figures based on both the vintage look (owned by Mattel) and Filmation variants (owned by Dreamworks).

    Mattel has always owned MOTU, the toy brand. They maintained the rights to produce toys based on the property and sold other licensing rights to Classic Media, which was bought by Dreamworks. If you wanted to make a MOTU t-shirt or a tumbler glass, you spoke to Classic Media. That is why the majority of licensed products utilize the Filmation style guide, because the Filmation catalog is part of Classic Media's portfolio. That is why Mattel had to get the licensing rights to create Filmation characters. I would assume Mattel has additional approval rights as part of their contract with Dreamworks, since Mattel originated the brand. Which is why you'll see both companies represented on products/production credits. Classic Media/Dreamworks also works very closely with Dark Horse in terms of publishing, which is why they are producing the recent books we've been getting, such as the mini-comic collection and the Filmation episode guide.

    MOTU is still Mattel's brand, but the various rights to produce items beyond toys falls with Dreamworks.

  25. #75
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    Funko also had to get license from Mattel to sell their he-man AND she-ra funko pops, so....??? hmmmm
    Strange women dressed in bird outfits guarding castles distributing swords and harnesses in no basis for a system of heroism.

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