Mattel, Inc. argued that Gopi Mattel’s domain name improperly incorporated its MATTEL registered trademark. Mattel, Inc. asserted that Gopi Mattel had no legitimate right or use of the mark, and contended that he purposely changed his name from Muthyal to Mattel precisely so that he could capitilize on the mark.
Gopi Mattel responded that Mattel, Inc. waited too long to complain — almost four years after he obtained the mattel.org domain name. He also proved that he changed his surname in 1996, when he naturalized as a U.S. citizen — five years before he registered the domain name. He demonstrated that his certificate of naturalization, his driver’s license and other supporting documents reflected that he has gone by the Mattel name consistently. He also set forth that he has not improperly sought to sell the domain name or to disrupt Mattel Inc.’s business.
Of course, the little guy has won before. There was the Veronica guy, who got sued by the publisher of Archie.