Fisher-Price files patent suit charging infringement of children’s ride-on vehicle technologies

By Steve Brachmann
January 25, 2017

On Tuesday, January 17th, children’s toy maker Fisher-Price Inc. of East Aurora, NY, filed a patent infringement suit against bicycle distributor Dynacraft BSC, Inc. of American Canyon, CA. At issue in the case is a series of patents covering electronic speed control technologies used in battery-powered ride-on products marketed by Dynacraft. The patent infringement suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (D. Del.).

In the official complaint filed by Fisher-Price and its parent company, Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT), a series of four patents-in-suit are asserted:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7222684, titled System, Apparatus, and Method for Providing Control of a Toy Vehicle. It claims a method for controlling acceleration of a toy vehicle configured to be operated by a person which involves generating a transition signal from a throttle signal in such a way that softens the initiation of the toy vehicle’s motion.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7487850, entitled Children’s Ride-On Vehicles Having Improved Shifter Assemblies. It discloses a children’s ride-on vehicle which has a shifter handle which allows a child to change the velocity of the vehicle by adjusting the shifter handle’s position.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7621543, titled Blow-Molded Wheels Having Undercut Treads, Methods for Producing the Same, and Children’s Ride-On Vehicles Including the Same. This discloses a children’s ride-on vehicle using wheels that are blow-molded from plastic in such a way that improves the complexity of the treads which can be molded into the tires.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7950978, same title as the ‘684 patent. It claims a toy vehicle operated by a person having a throttle switch electrically connected to a motor and capable of sending a throttle signal in such a way that improves safety and reduces the risks of a vehicle flipping or slipping on a wet surface.

According to the complaint, Fisher-Price and Mattel acquired the ‘684 and ‘978 patents from Innovation First, a former Fisher-Price supplier of battery-powered ride-on vehicle components, during the development of Fisher-Price Power Wheels ride-on vehicles having Smart Drive and Smooth Start Technology. Fisher-Price alleges that Dynacraft is importing infringing ride-on vehicle products, such as the 24V Disney Princess Carriage ride-on product, which practices speed control circuit technology which was copied from Innovation First. Dynacraft’s ride-on vehicles also practice technologies which Fisher-Price argues are covered by its shifter and wheel patents.

The patent complaint includes four counts of patent infringement, one for each patent asserted by Fisher-Price in the case. Fisher-Price seeks a judgement declaring that Dynacraft has willfully infringed the asserted patents-in-suit and as well as trebled damages under the terms of Title 35 U.S.C. Section 284.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a writer located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He has become a regular contributor to IPWatchdog.com, writing about technology, innovation and is the primary author of the Companies We Follow series. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients.

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There are currently 1 Comment comments.

  1. Joachim Martillo January 25, 2017 3:07 pm

    I read the blog post and wondered whether Fisher-Price was in the autonomous vehicle race. I searched around but found no evidence that Fisher-Price does research in that area, but I did find patent-print T-shirts and mugs.

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/PatentPrints?ref=l2-shop-info-name