In the company's June newsletter, Icon Inc., the maker of custom reproduction 4x4s based on the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser and Ford Bronco, showed side-by-side images of a rendering of a Hot Wheels model, and a photo of one of its models jumping in the desert.
The similarities are immediately apparent, and prompted the company to contact the division of Mattel to see what was going on. After receiving no reply to several emails sent to the company, Jonathan Ward, founder and owner of Icon, reportedly got an arrogant voicemail from Hot Wheels' art director telling him his claim was not valid.
Mattel reportedly removed the images after receiving a cease and desist letter from Icon, and offered the company a measly $1500 to settle out-of-court. Ward said the company lacked the funds to take on a company as large as Mattel, but would welcome help from any trademark lawyers willing to provide assistance to the company.
Adding insult to injury, Icon had reached out to Mattel previously to work on a possible co-branding deal for toys. In his initial contact with Mattel by email, Ward included the action photo of the gray Icon FJ which Mattel allegedly used to make their composite image.
Take a look at the images yourself and see if you think Icon has a case against Mattel.