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Toy company sues Clinton Cards

A leading robotic toy company is taking Clintons Cards to court along with their supplier Only 4 U Limited over Intellectual Property (IP) theft.

The UK arm of Innovation First International has filed a lawsuit against the greeting cards and gifts retail chain Clinton Cards plc, as well as one of its suppliers Only 4 U Limited, asserting claims of intellectual property infringement in respect of their award-winning HEXBUG® Nano™ micro robotic toy.

The lawsuit, issued in the UK High Court of Justice (Patents Court) last week, says that that the defendants have infringed both registered and unregistered European design rights in the HEXBUG Nano design, as well as stocking and and selling imitation products under the names “Micro-Insect” and “Jitterbugz” in Clinton’s stores.
 
Chief executive officer of Innovation First International, Tony Norman said: “We are delivering on the international promise we made to the toy industry to aggressively protect the intellectual property of our brands and products from those who, at any point in the supply chain, profit from infringing our rights.”

“We encourage suppliers, retailers and customers to beware of these imitators that take advantage of our product design, packaging and marketing, while we work to get them off retail shelves and remove them permanently from the market.”

A spokesperson for Clintons said: “Given that this is the subject of legal proceedings Clinton Cards is unable to comment.”

Commenting further on the case, Anti Copying in Design’s (ACID) chief executive, Dids Macdonald, added: “Most major plc’s who publicly allege that their rights have been infringed will have taken steps to protect their intellectual property within the scope of a robust intellectual property strategy, having first taken expert legal and specialist IP advice.
 
“The onus will be on Clinton Cards and their supplier Only 4 U Limited to prove that they own the legitimate intellectual property rights to their “Micro-Insect” and “Jitterbugz” products and for their lawyers to challenge the assertion by Innovation First that they have infringed the rights of the Hexbug Nano micro robotic toy.   

“Any product designer in this situation would need to show evidence of a design audit trail if they are relying on unregistered EU rights, a registered design certificate and evidence to provide consumer confusion through deceptive packaging” said Dids.  “The owner of a registered design does not have to prove copying. Being in possession of the appropriate national and international trademarks for trade names will also offer robust protection against look alike packaging.”
 
The action by Innovation First aims to stop Clintons and Only 4 U Ltd from further infringing the company’s intellectual property, to stop delivery and sale of the products, and to recover compensation in light of any damages and profits made from the sale of these copycat products.

As retailers finalise their Christmas preparations, Innovation First plans to ship additional HEXBUG stock to the UK for what it says will be a strong festive season for the brand.


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