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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
March 11, 2022, Decided; March 11, 2022, Filed
OPINION & ORDER
VALERIE CAPRONI, United States District Judge:
David Wexler, a toy inventor, has sued Hasbro, Inc. ("Hasbro"), alleging that the toy company unlawfully used two of his ideas without paying him royalties. Wexler asserted claims for breach of contract, misappropriation, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment. Hasbro moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Hasbro's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
Wexler invents toys and games for a living.1 Pl. 56.1 Stmt., Dkt. 68 ¶ 206.2 Many professional toy inventors, including Wexler, pitch ideas to toy companies, in the hopes that a company will license and develop their proposal in return for royalties. Id. ¶¶ 217, 366, 368, 369. Hasbro, a global toy and game company, regularly meets with outside inventors who present their ideas to representatives from Hasbro's Products Acquisitions department.3 Id. ¶¶ 214, 217. At the end of each meeting, a Hasbro representative records the pitched [*2] ideas on an Inventor Review Record form and notes his or her disposition for each listed idea. Id. ¶¶ 333, 378; Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 4, 6, 7. A disposition of "Pass" is an outright rejection. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 8. A disposition of "Hold/Send In" means that Hasbro may further consider the idea and will keep or be provided with the materials presented at the meeting. Id. ¶ 9; Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 334, 338. And a disposition of "Inventor to do more work," means just that: Hasbro may be willing to reconsider the idea in the future, after additional work by the inventor. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 10 (Pl. Resp.).
In a series of meetings between 2007 and 2015, Wexler pitched various toy and game ideas to Hasbro. Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 228, 252, 254, 257, 259, 266, 267. One of the ideas, which Wexler alleges he pitched at each of the pertinent meetings, see id., was "a branded collection of combined games, each of which is controlled by Hasbro, and uses combined play pattern of the original games and the games' names together as the name of the new product." Resp., Dkt. 55 at 11. Wexler identified the collection with the slogan "Hasbro Presents . . . Mash-Ups . . . The Classics Combined." Pl. 56.1 Stmt. [*3] ¶ 240. At each of the meetings, Wexler presented illustrative examples of games that could be included in the collection.4 Id. ¶¶ 243, 244, 253, 255, 258, 260. Hasbro ultimately passed on the idea, including each of the pitched illustrative examples. Def. 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 38, 42, 45, 49, 52, 54.5 The Court will refer to Wexler's proposed collection as the "Mash-Up Idea."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43543 *
DAVID WEXLER, Plaintiff, -against- HASBRO, INC., Defendant.
Connect, combined, novel, products, Blast, misappropriation, games, collection, toy, unfair competition, declaration, novelty, speculation, Inventor, pitched, brand, reply, summary judgment motion, unjust enrichment, summary judgment, preexisting, admits, novel idea, papers, new product, non-moving, invention, meetings, cases, rebut