A jury in California issued a $6 million verdict against SLB Toys USA, Inc. (also known as ToyQuest) in favor of Wham-O, Inc., the manufacturer of the famous backyard yard toy, the Slip ‘N Slide. Wham-O owns two registrations for design marks for water slides which include the color yellow as part of the registration. Wham-O claimed that its famous yellow water slide has become an instantly recognizable iconic symbol of summer fun, and is famous among both children and adults.
Wham-O sued Toy Quest for trademark infringement, dilution, and false advertising, claiming ToyQuest knocked off its product by using a confusing color scheme. The jury concluded that Toy Quest willfully infringed the trademarks for the yellow water slides. It awarded $3.6 million in damages and ordered enhanced damages in the amount of $2.4 million in order to compensate Wham-O and make ToyQuest infringement unprofitable. Wham-O’s president stated that it will take all necessary measures to ensure consumers are not deceived by competitors. ToyQuest’s counsel said it will appeal stating color trademarks are subject to limitations and must not be aesthetically functional, the latter which was not addressed by the jury. We will see what happens next.