Hobbytron.Com Sued for Distributing Dangerous Knock-Offs

Hong Kong Toy & Games Fair 2007


7, 2007--Hong Kong-based Silverlit Toys Manufactory Ltd., an acknowledged leader in the development and manufacturing of safe, high-quality electronic toys, and Spin Master Ltd, Silverlit's North American distribution partner and owner of the well known Air Hogs(TM) brand of flying toys, have jointly sued Absolute Toy Marketing, Inc., a Utah corporation d.b.a.

Hobbytron.com for importing and distributing counterfeit PicooZ(TM) remote control (RC) helicopters.

One in a line of extremely popular Silverlit RC toys, the helicopter was a runaway best seller this Christmas.

Prior to the holiday season, Silverlit alerted Hong Kong authorities that several companies were manufacturing PicooZ(TM) knock-offs.

Chinese customs officials subsequently raided manufacturing plants in six cities, seizing more than 1,000 toys.

Silverlit and its exclusive PicooZ(TM) licensee, Spin Master Ltd., are represented by Greenberg Traurig, which has filed a complaint and request for a jury trial in the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

The claims against Hobbytron.com include copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin charges.

Silverlit and Spin Master are seeking a preliminary injunction in this action to stop Hobbytron.com's wrongful acts.

To avoid confusion caused by the presence of these inferior counterfeit helicopters in the marketplace, Spin Master will be selling Silverlit's authentic "PicooZ(TM)" helicopter under the brand name "Havoc Heli."

"We are dedicated to creating an exciting array of electronic toys and go to tremendous lengths testing and retesting every aspect of the hardware and software to make sure our products deliver the highest quality, value and performance as well as being safe and durable," notes Eddie Wong, director of marketing and sales at Silverlit.

"We will not allow our good name and trademarks to be trashed by unscrupulous people who are willing to sell counterfeit products dressed up to look like ours, knowing that they pose a real threat to consumers," adds Anton Rabie, Spin Master's CEO.

"We have a strong history of vigorously protecting intellectual property which we own and license, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that retailers only buy Silverlit's authentic legal version of this product, the "Havoc Heli" and that any other distributors trying to sell PicooZ Havoc Heli counterfeits are immediately stopped"

Breakthrough concepts in aerodynamics, hardware and programming, including elements such as the density of the foam fuselage material, advanced Li-Po batteries and protective hardware to avert any possibility of overheating, all had to be finely tuned to ensure the quality, safety and performance of the PicooZ(TM).

Every battery and motor undergoes a rigorous testing procedure before they are installed in the toys.

"It is highly unlikely that counterfeiters are concerned about these protective measures, so consumers may unwittingly have bought unauthorized knock-offs that pose fire and safety hazards for children," Wong continues.

"We feel it is important, not just for our company, but also for our legitimate importers, distributors and the public that we raise awareness of this problem."

Hobbytron.com previously purchased and sold authentic Silverlit toy helicopters, so it was well aware of the company's copyright and trademark rights.

Nevertheless, it knowingly carried the counterfeit products - confusingly identified as PiccoZ - that also infringed on Silverlit's packaging and instruction manual, the suit maintains.

This product is marked as safe for children 3 and older, while Silverlit PicooZ(TM) is recommended only for children 8 and older.

Another infringing helicopter, the "Rider," also was identified in the Hong Kong raid.

"Companies like ours invest millions of dollars every year in research and development to come up with original concepts and manufacture exciting, challenging toys," says Wong.

"While we register our copyrights and trademarks, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of intellectual property violations.

Infringers not only hurt our business by flooding the market with inferior products, they also hurt consumers who have come to rely on the quality of our products and our good name."

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Posted on 2007-01-08