Archive for January, 2013

IFI PARTNERS WITH RAVENSBURGER FOR HEXBUG® THEMED BOARD GAME

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013


HEXBUG® Creator Inks Deal to Bring Kakerlakak to Retail in Europe this Spring

Innovation First International, masterminds behind the internationally recognized HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, today announced a new licensing partnership with Ravensburger, to introduce Kakerlakak – the world’s first HEXBUG themed board game. Due to crawl onto retail shelves in Europe this Spring, the Kakerlakak game will be on display at the Spielwarenmesse, International Toy Fair Nuremburg, Germany from January 30 – February 4 at Booth A12-D13 in hall 12.0.

“We are excited to add Ravensburger as a HEXBUG licensee for the debut of Kakerlakak, which introduces our innovative vibrating robotic toy to traditional family game play,” said Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Ravensburger’s approach to product development goes hand in hand with our brand philosophy of delivering quality entertainment experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family.”

Kakerlakak is a fast-paced action game, with a frenetic HEXBUG Nano® mini robot at the center of the action. The interactive Kakerlakak game requires rapid response and hand-to-eye coordination, and challenges children ages five and up to maneuver the skittering bug through the kitchen maze using a variety of kitchen utensils. The ultimate winner is the player with the most chips at the end of the game, which they earn by trapping the bug into their corner.

“We are very pleased to partner with Innovation First, whose wildly popular HEXBUG brand has enabled us to deliver a new and innovative board game that speaks to trends in popular culture and will help expand their growing European fan base,” said Thomas Zumbühl, International Product Manager of Ravensburger.

Ravensburger is Europe’s leading supplier of puzzles, games and craft products and one of the leading publishers of books for children and adolescents in the German-speaking area. The blue triangle is one of the most renowned trademarks in Germany. The programme comprises almost 8,000 different products (including all country-specific editions) that are sold worldwide and 85% of which are produced internally. In 2011 a workforce of 1,640 earned revenues of 319.5 million euros.

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New UK Sales Director for Innovation First International

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The following story was written by Lewis Tyler with Toy News on 1/10/2013.

HEXBUG company hires Daniel Richardson.

Maker of miniature vibrating bugs Innovation First has revealed its new UK sales director – Daniel Richardson.

Richardson boasts over 15 years of toy trade experience and previously held sales and managing director positions at Digital Blue and Funrise.

Innovation First’s UK MD Ian Laugher said: “The team is very excited to have Daniel on board. He brings a wealth of knowledge and I know he is looking forward to building on our current product successes.”

Innovation First most recently released the Hexbug brand extension Warriors and is set to show off a raft of new product at Toy Fair.

 

INNOVATION FIRST TAPS U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE CVS CAREMARK (CVS) FOR UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Innovation First Makes Good on Promise to Defend Trade Secrets Across Entire Supply Chain

GREENVILLE, Texas – January 4, 2013 –Innovation First International filed a complaint today with the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting an investigation be instituted against CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) – a pharmacy with over 7,500 stores nationwide, for unfair trade practices. The claim against CVS is related to the “Robo Fish” toy, manufactured by Zuru Toys, Inc., and sold in CVS stores to its consumers. Innovation First contends that the “Robo Fish” toy includes technology developed by the company and its employees that was misappropriated by persons affiliated with Zuru Toys.

“This should come as no surprise to CVS. We warned all major retailers last year of the consequences they would face if they were to import the Robo Fish product,” explained Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Against our advice, this retailer knowingly chose to carry the product line, and will now have to face the legal consequences associated with its actions,” concluded Norman.

Innovation First asserts that the “Robo Fish” product incorporates technology that was stolen by an IFI engineer and shopped for several months to other toy companies.  The engineer ultimately placed “Robo Fish” with Zuru Toys and resigned as head of R&D for Innovation First’s China development team the day of the sale.  Innovation First sued Zuru Toys more than a year ago and remains engaged in litigation with Zuru Toys, despite attempts by Zuru Toys to avoid the U.S. justice system. Major U.S. retailers other than CVS have elected not to carry the offending products. Innovation First plans to release its official version of the Aqua Fish product under the HEXBUG brand this August.

“The toy industry is notorious for encouraging knock-off artists by placing offending products on their retail shelves,” said Norman. “Retailers know the toy industry, but some pretend not to recognize obvious knock-offs or other unfair trade practices.  Those retailers bury their heads in the sand and rely on the hollow promise of indemnification from unscrupulous suppliers – a practice that stifles true innovation.”

International Trade Commission investigations and proceedings focus directly on the wrongful actions of companies, like CVS, that import offending products.  “Unlike a typical toy company, we are broadly diversified and not dependent solely upon toy revenue. Therefore, we won’t hesitate to file suit against retailers, or seek justice through other avenues like the ITC if anyone in the supply chain steals our technology, confidential information or trade secrets,” concluded Norman.

About Innovation First International:

Innovation First International was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs.  Innovation First International’s three main subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets.

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