SEOUL, South Korea and WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The toy brand Mecard, which is developed with proprietary and patented technology owned by Korean toy-content company Choirock Contents Company Co., Ltd. (CEO: Jong-il Choi), prevailed on an appeal case filed by Spin Master, Ltd., a Canadian global toy company, in the United States. This victory likely puts an end to a series of global patent disputes between the two companies.
On October 12, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the final written decisions of the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that invalidated all of the challenged claims of three “Bakugan” patents owned by Spin Master in inter partes review petitions filed by Choirock. Both the PTAB and Federal Circuit agreed with Choirock that Spin Master’s patents are invalid.
In 2018, Spin Master sued US toy company, Mattel, Inc., in the United States, Canada, and Australia, among other jurisdictions, alleging that Mecard toys infringed Spin Master’s “Bakugan” patents. Mattel was distributing Mecard toys in those countries through its license obtained from Choirock. Despite the PTAB’s rulings that invalidated its “Bakugan” patents, Spin Master continued to obstruct Mecard’s entrance into the global market by appealing the PTAB’s rulings to the Federal Circuit. Spin Master’s prolonged litigation against Choirock has obstructed Choirock’s Mecard business for many years, and further caused Choirock to spend an immense cost to defend the Spin Master litigations.
In addition to its victory in the United States, Choirock has won all of its other global patent disputes with Spin Master in China and Europe. An Italian Court (EU) and the Supreme Court of China also ruled that Spin Master’s EU patent is unpatentable and that Mecard toys do not infringe Spin Master’s Chinese patent, respectively. These rulings effectively put an end to the parties’ legal fights in China and the EU. The recent ruling of the Federal Circuit in the U.S. re-confirmed that Spin Master’s “Bakugan” patents lack patentability because they are nothing more than a combination of previously developed or known toy technologies.
Having successfully lifted Spin Master’s obstruction of Choirock’s global toy business, the Mecard brand now likely secures even more dominance in the toy-content market with the addition of its latest product, MecardBall. Inspired by “Marbles Shooting,” one of Korea’s popular traditional games, MecardBall utilizes a high-tech skill for causing an instant transformation of a toy from a car into a robot when the car embraces a marble. MecardBall is continuing the success of TurningMecard.
Choirock owns intellectual property rights associated with the Mecard brand. Choirock announced that “with our recent victory on the US appeal, we have successfully overcome all of the legal barriers that were raised by Spin Master. Mecard was awarded ‘The Best Selling Toy in Korea’ (Certified by Korea Record Institute) and has various lines of products. With the addition of MecardBall, which is already drawing attention in the toy industry, the company will accelerate its plan to launch Mecard in the global market and expects to see a positive response from the industry.”
Like “Squid Game,” a drama series streaming on Netflix that introduced Korea’s traditional play culture and games to the world, the company hopes that Mecard brand also contributes to spreading Korea’s traditional play culture and games to the world. Mecard brand is similar to “Squid Game” in the sense that Mecard has been applying Korea’s play culture and games since its inception.
Source: Choirock Contents Company Co., Ltd.