Los Angeles, CA – Cartoonist/illustrator B.K. Taylor created the Odd Rods group of trading cards and sticker series in 1969 for the Donruss company. The theme for the cartoons was monsters driving cars, hot rods, and motorcycles. Around 2006, Plaintiff DZ Hart allegedly acquired the copyright and trademark rights to the collection. Subsequently, DZ Hart and Taylor entered into a consulting agreement for Taylor to design artwork for DZ. Plaintiff alleges that no products were created as a result of the agreement and it was terminated in January of 2009.
DZ then contracted a third-party to work on the project, which third party was contacted by Taylor’s attorney in June of this year and notified of Taylor’s claim of ownership in the Odd Rods intellectual property. Taylor allegedly sent the third-party a discussion draft of a proposed cooperation agreement between Taylor and EZ, which EZ claims is unenforceable because it was not executed. DZ alleges that Taylor never had exclusive rights to the disputed intellectual property and, if Taylor ever had any, the rights have lapsed due to abandonment and/or termination of all such rights and are now in the public domain. DZ has filed the declaratory judgment action asking the Court to rule that Taylor has no intellectual property rights in the Odd Rods characters. A copy of the complaint is available here. The case is DZ Hart Ltd. Liability Co., v. B.K. Taylor, CV10-4489 PSG (C.D. Cal. 2010).
Here’s the promotional video that also provides a history of “Odd Rods” narrated by Scott Baio: