Yesterday we ran a post highlighting what appears to be a pretty scummy issue. Automaker ICON alleges that Hot Wheels ripped off the likeness of its own FJ Series vehicle for a new small-scale toy. We gave you ICON’s side of the story yesterday, which was plucked from ICON’s own newsletter. Now, however, we have Hot Wheels take on the issue.
Alan Hilowitz, Company Spokesman for Hot Wheels, responded to our email inquiry. Mr. Hilowitz states that Hot Wheels has been attempting to communicate with ICON, but there’s been no more communication coming from the automaker’s camp. Initially, the image shown yesterday was part of an artist’s rendering of what Hot Wheels might want to do, with regards to a new model. From there, the toy maker proceeded to license their actual toy based upon the original Toyota FJ, with an agreement forged directly with Toyota.
We’ve got a photo of the actual production toy (shown above, and after the break), and the full response from Alan Hilowitz and Hot Wheels. We know there are two sides to every story, and we’re glad that Hot Wheels took the time to respond. Additionally, we hope that ICON and Hot Wheels can settle the issue. If Hooniverse were called in to arbitrate (you never know…), we would love to see ICON give a thumbs up to a run of Hot Wheels based on the vehicles that the automaker produces.
Click past the break for the full response, and an image of the production vehicle in its packaging.
Mattel respects the intellectual property of others and takes these types of allegations very seriously. We strongly disagree with the allegations from JW Motion and the facts they have presented. We had previously been in dialogue with their attorney for a period of about six months regarding this; however we have not heard from them since our last communication nearly four months ago. The Hot Wheels vehicle referenced is produced under license from the Toyota Motor Corporation by Mattel Inc.
I’d like to also note that the photo you have posted on your site (the yellow vehicle on the right) was an artist’s concept rendering of what the toy might look like and not a photo of the actual toy vehicle produced. That rendering, which was only posted on hotwheels.com for a short period of time, was taken down permanently last fall. I am attaching an image of the actual toy being sold.
Thanks again for the response Alan.
So what do you think Hooniverse; a case of a careless illustrator letting his inspiration for a new model make it to the website, or did Hot Wheels decide to make a deal with Toyota rather than ICON?
[Image courtesy of Hot Wheels]