When the Tri-Ang empire colapsed in 1971, Airfix buys Meccano Ltd. but not the trademark DINKY TOYS. They register DINKY® and DINKY TOYS or DINKY SUPERTOYS have not been used since.
When Aifix who owned Meccano Ltd. went into receivership in December 1979, the trade mark DINKY® was sold to either Matchbox or Universal. Anyway Universal acquired Matchbox almost at the same time and which one was acquired first by Universal is unknown.
Universal issued the DINKY COLLECTION, note that it was not the DINKY TOYS COLLECTION because they could not have acquired the mark DINKY TOYS. None of the models made by Meccano Ltd. was ever made by Universal as all the tools had been scrapped. A very important question is : "Did Universal / Matchbox buy the trade mark only or also a right on the models. This remains to be proved by Mattel. Anyway the collection did not sale, they were not our Dinky Toys any more, they could be found in bazars for many years and many were probably just dumped. Why should Mattel take any risk again, there is so much competition on this market which is not so large any more. To day kids prefer mobiles and electronic games.
In 2006 Mattel who had acquired Universal issued four Matchbox Yesteryears models as DINKY TOYS™, the word DINKY being much larger than the word TOYS, this was a first attempt to gain the famous trademark. These models were sold mainly in the USA and on the bay. The aim of this series was to keep the mark alive, otherwise Mattel would have lost ownership of the mark.
In 2008 Mattel sold a licence to use the Dinky name to Atlas who subcontracts the manufacture of copies / counterfeits of Dinky Toys to Norev who makes them in China. The first models are of very poor quality and after 40 models have now been issued there are still many flaws. This is very clever as Mattel makes money without taking any commercial or legal risk and the risk is high.
If Mattel has a right on the designs which remains to be proved then the Atlas collection is copies. If not they are counterfeits and illegal. Atlas is always on the fringe of legality as the name DINKY TOYS is always used by Atlas with or without ™. Each model is provided with a so called certificate which certifies that the model is an "official re-issue". What does this mean ? absolutely nothing, it is only marketing bluf.
There is an other problem with the Atlas collection. The models with suspension have their base plate stamped "Breveté SGDG" which means patented in France. In fact the patent has lapsed around 1980 and one can not apply this statement to a new product made thirty years later.
I have a few of these Chinese models including three very scarce ones, I do not want to keep them, they are all for sale on the thread British Dinky from Atlas.