Monday, February 25, 2013

US court dismisses IFI's appeal against Zuru Toys

Zuru "free to distribute RoboFish" in the US, but IFI says "we are committed to this fight".

A US court has dismissed a legal appeal made by Hexbug creators Innovation First International (IFI) against RoboFish manufacturer Zuru Toys.

The federal district court in Dallas, Texas affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, confirmed the ruling.

Innovation First filed legal action against CVS Caremark earlier this year for selling RoboFish toys.

"There is no legal barrier to the sale of RoboFish in the US," read a press release. "With the case dismissed, Zuru Inc is free to legally market and distribute the popular RoboFish line throughout the country."

Anna Mowbray, COO of Zuru Inc, said: “We are extremely pleased with this ruling as we were confident once the facts were heard that the ruling would be in our favour.

“There has been strong retail and consumer interest in RoboFish, and we look forward to supporting our retail partners throughout the year.”

In a statement sent to ToyNews, Tony Norman, President and CEO of Innovation First International, commented: "Zuru's RoboFish product was developed by Innovation First and its employees, using Innovation First know-how, trade secrets and resources. We are not the first company to have been harmed by Zuru's unlawful trade practices, and we likely won't be the last.

"We are doing everything we can to communicate the situation with our retail partners, and we are on schedule to deliver a superior product at a competitive price in Europe this Fall."

An Innovation First International statement added: "You may hear from Zuru that this is a massive victory. It isn’t. In reality, Zuru has won nothing of substance.

"The ruling only addressed the convenience of the venue (that is, the location) where our claims should be heard. The district court judge had ruled earlier that the matter would be more conveniently heard in China, and the appeals panel decided that the district judge had discretion to make that ruling. This ruling says nothing about the substance of our claims. It just means that Zuru, at least for now, can continue to hide from the US courts.

"We are obviously disappointed with this ruling, but it is only one issue. We are committed to this fight, the appeals are not over, and this is only one part of a much larger battle.

"Our proceedings before the US International Trade Commission remain pending, and the merits of our dispute will be heard there. Zuru can’t dodge the ITC, and neither can any retailer, like CVS, who imports products for Zuru.

"The US Customs Service has issued an exclusion order on Zuru’s RoboFish product, and Customs has seized and impounded multiple shipments. To date, Customs has seized tens of thousands of units. We expect Customs to continue this protective activity, and we will support their ongoing efforts to the best of our ability.


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