Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Innovation First Winning Fight Against UK Knock-offs of HEXBUG® Nano™ Toy

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Lawsuits and Investigations Target UK Copycats Raising Total to Over 1,000 Successful Enforcement Actions Worldwide

Warrington, United Kingdom – May 5, 2011 – Innovation First International is pleased to report numerous victories in its fight against a global surge of knock-off and counterfeit products that imitate the company’s highly successful HEXBUG® Nano™ brand toys. The company continues to be successful in courtroom litigation, having resolved yet another lawsuit filed last year, this time against UK based company 50 Fifty Gifts (UK) Ltd, its principal Ali Mafi and affiliated entities. Since the launch of its aggressive campaign last year, the company reports over 1,000 successful enforcement actions to date worldwide.  Across Europe, Spin Master Ltd., the European distribution partner for HEXBUG serves as a key ally in the fight against knock-off producers, leveraging its extensive network of investigators, enforcement agents and legal teams.

The case against 50 Fifty Gifts (UK) Ltd, its principal Ali Mafi and others, claimed trade dress infringement; injury to business reputation; and common law unfair competition; unjust enrichment and other wrongful conduct in offering knock-offs. Key terms of the settlement include the transfer of ownership of the “Kreep-Es” brand to Innovation First, and the transfer of all worldwide intellectual property rights owned by 50 Fifty Gifts in the “Kreep-Es” to Innovation First. Further, 50 Fifty Gifts agreed to cease the design, manufacture and sale of the “Kreep-Es” products and vibrating locomotion toys immediately. 50 Fifty Gifts must also deliver the molds, dies and tooling used for creating Kreep-Es to Innovation First in China.

“Our successful enforcement actions coupled with the 50 Fifty Gifts settlement are significant steps in our ongoing global campaign to protect our world-recognized HEXBUG® Nano™ brand, said Tony Norman, president and chief executive officer of Innovation First International.  “The toy industry is notorious for breeding copycats of hot products, and we know that retailers become a part of the problem when they place knock-off artists’ products on store shelves.  This practice stifles innovation, and we won’t hesitate to file suit against retailers or anyone else in the supply chain who infringes our intellectual property.”

In February of this year, Innovation First resolved a lawsuit filed last May against Urban Trend, LLC. The case, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, claimed trade dress infringement, violations of the Lanham Act and other wrongful conduct in offering knock-offs. Key terms of the settlement included a cash payment to Innovation First, the transfer of ownership of the “i-insect” brand to Innovation First, and the transfer of all worldwide intellectual property rights owned by Urban Trend in the “i-insect” to Innovation First. Further, Urban Trend agreed to cease the design, manufacture and sale of the “i-insect” products and vibrating locomotion toys immediately. Urban Trend also delivered the molds, dies and tooling used for creating i-insect to Innovation First in China.

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Sarah Jackson at Cohn & Wolfe on 020 7331 5448 or at sarah.jackson@cohnwolfe.com

About HEXBUG and Innovation First:

HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed internationally by Innovation First Trading, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc. The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.  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. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. This network was expanded to Canada in 2010 with the addition of an office, warehouse and distribution center located in Toronto. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

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Download a PDF of this release here.

Innovation First Winning Fight Against Knock-offs of HEXBUG(R) NanoTM Toy

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Lawsuits and investigations lead to over 1,000 successful enforcement actions worldwide

New York – February 13, 2011 – On the morning of the American International Toy Fair in New York, Innovation First International is pleased to report numerous victories in its fight against a global surge of knock-off and counterfeit products that imitate the company’s highly successful HEXBUG® NanoTM brand toys. Since the launch of an aggressive campaign last year, the company reports over 1,000 successful enforcement actions thus far worldwide. At the recent Hong Kong, London and Nuremburg toy fairs, the company was successful at removing copycat products from the displays of over 40 separate infringing companies. Additionally, numerous websites and wholesale trade portals have removed products found to be in violation.

Innovation First has also been successful in courtroom litigation, having successfully resolved the lawsuit filed last May against Urban Trend, LLC. The case, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, claimed trade dress infringement, violations of the Lanham Act and other wrongful conduct in offering knock-offs. Key terms of the settlement include a cash payment to Innovation First, the transfer of ownership of the “i-insect” brand to Innovation First, and the transfer of all worldwide intellectual property rights owned by Urban Trend in the “i-insect” to Innovation First. Further, Urban Trend agreed to cease the design, manufacture and sale of the “i-insect” products and vibrating locomotion toys immediately. Urban Trend will also deliver the molds, dies and tooling used for creating i-insect to Innovation First in China.

“The successful enforcement actions along with the Urban Trend settlement are significant steps in our ongoing global campaign to protect our HEXBUG® NanoTM intellectual property,” said Tony Norman, president and chief executive officer of Innovation First International, Inc. “Along with our litigation victory, we are pleased with our recent successes in removing knock-off products from the internet and from the floor of the major international toy fairs. We will continue aggressively to pursue any and all violators who infringe our intellectual property, and we intend to police the upcoming New York Toy Fair for violators.”

Another major asset in the war on knock-offs is the new European distribution partner for HEXBUG®, Spin Master Ltd. The global brand building power of Spin Master now gives the HEXBUG® NanoTM visibility throughout Europe, making knock-off products less appealing to retailers. Spin Master assembled an extensive worldwide network of investigators, enforcement agents and legal teams during their successful three year battle against knock-offs of the Bakugan Toy and Entertainment property. This network has recently been made available to Innovation First, and Innovation First has obtained outstanding initial results using this network against knock-off producers.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with a great brand like HEXBUG®, and a highly creative company like Innovation First,” said Anton Rabie, president and chief executive officer of Spin Master. “We have a vested interest in the success of HEXBUG® and have given Innovation First full access to all of our resources in this important fight against HEXBUG® knock-offs.”

Additionally, lawsuits filed last year, asserting claims for common law misappropriation, unjust enrichment and violations of other intellectual property rights, remain pending against companies accused of manufacturing, advertising, promoting, distributing and/or selling products that were derived from innovative components of the HEXBUG® NanoTM micro robotic toy. These matters have been, and will continue to be pursued aggressively. Although legal battles will continue through the court system, consumers may have already rendered their verdict as offending product is starting to show up on clearance shelves. Innovation First has also pursued, and will continue to pursue, patent protection for the HEXBUG® NanoTM. The product is extremely unique in form and function, which lends to the very broad and defendable copyrights, trademarks, design and utility patents that Innovation First is seeking and has obtained.

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About HEXBUG and Innovation First:

HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc. The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

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. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry- wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. This network was expanded to Canada in 2010 with the addition of an office, warehouse and distribution center located in Toronto. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Download Press Release (PDF)

MGA Sued for Copying Innovation First’s HEXBUG® Nano™ Toy

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Greenville, Texas – October 5, 2010 – A lawsuit asserting claims for common law misappropriation and unjust enrichment was filed last week against MGA Entertainment, Inc. in the 354th Judicial District Court for Hunt County, Texas. The lawsuit accuses MGA of manufacturing, advertising, promoting, distributing and/or selling products that were derived from innovative components of the HEXBUG® Nano™ micro robotic toy, created by Innovation First. The HEXBUG® Nano™—a toy that moves with quick, random insect-like motion, and rights itself if flipped on its back—is offered by leading retailers in the U.S. including Walmart, Target, Toys“R”Us, Kmart, RadioShack, Walgreens and Brookstone. Most recently, the HEXBUG® Nano™ was featured in The Toy Insider’s HOT 20 TOYS for the 2010 holiday season and has received numerous other influential industry awards.

This lawsuit is in keeping with Innovation First’s history of protecting its brands and products from competitors’ wrongful actions. The company has filed, and continues to file, for domestic and international intellectual property protection for virtually every aspect of the robotic creatures, from their utility and function to their packaging, trade dress and associated accessories and materials. “Innovation First has spent extensive resources to engineer, develop, and perfect the HEXBUG® Nano™, and we won’t hesitate to sue companies throughout the supply chain that attempt to take a free ride off our hard-earned efforts by producing, distributing or selling copycat products,” said Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International, Inc.

In accordance with the Texas common law of misappropriation, the lawsuit alleges that MGA has copied the HEXBUG® Nano™ motor assembly, components, housing and legs and is using them in the Legend of Nara Battling Bugs toy in competition with Innovation First. Moreover, the lawsuit contends, MGA even copied non-functional portions of the Innovation First design, making the misappropriation even more blatant and obvious. The lawsuit contends that MGA has gained an unfair advantage in competition with Innovation First because it is burdened with little or none of the development expenses or development time that were incurred in developing the misappropriated aspects of the HEXBUG® Nano™. The lawsuit also alleges that MGA has taken undue advantage of the time, labor, skill, money and other resources expended to create the HEXBUG® Nano™. The lawsuit seeks to recover any profits MGA has made, or may make, from the sale of the Legend of Nara Battling Bugs products that incorporate these misappropriated elements of the HEXBUG® Nano™ and may also seek to prevent MGA and those acting in concert with MGA from selling such products.

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About HEXBUG and Innovation First:
HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc. The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

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. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. This network was expanded to Canada in 2010 with the addition of an office, warehouse and distribution center located in Toronto. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Download this press release here. (PDF)

HEXBUG® Swarms into the Holidays with New Micro Robotic Creatures and Customizable Playgrounds

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Greenville, Texas – Sept. 28, 2010 – Innovation First Labs Inc., creator of the popular HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures, today unveiled its rapidly-growing product line-up for the holiday season, including the first glow-in-the-dark HEXBUG Nano, the six- legged remote-controlled electro mechanical marvel that is the HEXBUG Spider, and three diverse and customizable Habitat Sets for HEXBUG Nano architects. The highly- sought after HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures, including the HEXBUG Nano and Habitat Sets, are ready to invade major retailers nationwide just in time for the bustling holiday gift-giving season.

Unlike any other toy on the market, HEXBUG combines science and technology with kids’ innate love for bugs, in a way that translates into hours of imaginative and interactive playtime. Parents and kids will fall in love with HEXBUG creatures’ fascinating life-like behavior that brings fun and excitement to robotics. Designed to foster children’s creativity and fuel hours of imaginative playtime, HEXBUG product is set to stock the toy shelves of Walmart, Target, Toys“R”Us, RadioShack and Brookstone stores nationwide.

“When we launched the HEXBUG Nano and Habitat Set less than a year ago, we knew we had a hot product on our hands by the overwhelmingly positive response we received from children, adults, and our trusted retail partners,” said Chris Troyak, president of Innovation First Labs, Inc. “As a result, our engineers have been hard work developing new additions to the highly-coveted line that will arrive just in time for the holiday season.”

New HEXBUG products for October / November 2010 include:

● HEXBUG Spider – This not-so-creepy crawler features 360 degree steering, an LED forward eye, and two-channel, user selectable infrared remote control. The two-channel remote control enables users to operate multiple bugs independently or at the same time. As the largest member of the HEXBUG family, the complexity of its internal mechanisms and six-legged crawling motion is truly hypnotizing! CPSIA approved for children 8 years and up; MSRP: $24.99;
Available this November exclusively at RadioShack stores nationwide or online at www.hexbug.com

● Glow-In-The Dark HEXBUG Nano – The undisputed micro-robotic favorite, HEXBUG Nano, is a tiny 1.75 inch energetic micro robotic bug that uses the physics of vibration to skitter along and explore its environment on smooth surfaces. Now it can come to life during the day or night. There is more to the HEXBUG Nano than meets the eye. Pop the top of a Nano test tube to gain access to the unique code that enables kids and families to register and keep track of their collection at www.handandstars.com online. The website is designed to engage kids with fun facts about real scientists and their discoveries, and to stimulate minds in increasingly difficult levels of game play. CPSIA approved for children 3 years and up; MSRP: $9.99; Available this October exclusively at Brookstone stores nationwide or online at www.hexbug.com.

● Bridge Battle – The HEXBUG Nano Bridge Battle Habitat Set allows kids to create the ultimate battleground for the HEXBUG Nano. HEXBUG Nano owners place their bugs on either side of the elevated arena where they must scurry over an orange bridge, through one-way gates and meet in the center battle platform. HEXBUG Nanos nudge and knock their competitor out of the battle arena until only one bug is left standing and reigned champion. Bridge Battle comes with 29 easy connect pieces and two rare HEXBUG Nanos. CPSIA approved for kids ages 3 and up; MSRP: $39.99; Available this October at Toys“R”Us, RadioShack, Target, Walmart Stores and specialty retailers nationwide or www.hexbug.com.

● Raceway – Ready, Set, Nano! Kids can race their HEXBUG Nanos by constructing their very own customizable Raceway Habitat Set. HEXBUG Nanos test their speed and take off out of the starting gates at a lightning pace in attempt to out-scurry their competition to the finish line, zooming through dangerous divides and tricky turns. Raceway comes with 28 easy connect pieces and 2 rare HEXBUG Nanos. CPSIA approved for kids 3 and up; MSRP: $49.99; Available this October exclusively at Target stores nationwide or www.hexbug.com.

● Elevation – HEXBUG Nano collectors can unleash their creativity as they build and construct the expansive Elevation Habitat Set. Elevation features a multi- level spiral and bridges that can accommodate an entire HEXBUG Nano collection, and enable each Nano bug to stretch its rubber legs as it traverses through the sizable mini-community. The customized track includes one spiral ramp that rises two levels up, offering explorative HEXBUG Nanos the best view in town. Elevation comes with 52 easy connect pieces and 2 rare HEXBUG Nanos. CPSIA approved for kids 3 and up; MSRP: $49.99; Available this October exclusively at Toys“R”Us stores nationwide or www.hexbug.com.

About HEXBUG and Innovation First:

HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc. The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

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. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, mainland China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Download a PDF of this release here.

Hexbugs on UK TV – 2nd Phase

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

The second phase of TV advertising in the UK of Hexbug Nano’s started this week.

The 30 second advert is being shown on UK Nickelodeon for the next two weeks.  The advert was created in the US by White Dwarf and has been updated for the UK market by Lancashire based White Noise Productions. The airtime package was provided by Manchester based media buying agency Media Clarity.

The 4 week campaign was split into two week slots.  The first phase finished end July and the second phase started on 16th August.  It’s a first for Hexbug’s creators Innovation First in the UK. Ian Laugher, MD comments: “The Nano’s are fun gadgets for kids, and this advert reflects that perfectly, it’s been very well received in the US and we feel it’s an ideal match for the Nickelodeon channel in the UK’

The advert features eleven children playing with the tiny robotic bugs. The Hexbug Nano has 12 legs, will move in any direction and with a self righting mechanism it can flip back the right way if it rolls over onto its back. One Nano on the move is an impressive sight but throw more into the mix and it becomes a swarm; they interact and literally bounce of each other. Also featured is the Nano habitat; hexagonal pods and easily connecting straight and curved bridges to create mazes.

Available in five colours; green, blue, red, orange and purple, the HEXBUG Nano is sold individually in its own ‘test tube’ container. The Nano is the latest product in the HEXBUG range joining the Original, Inchworm, Crab and Ant. Prices start from £8.99 and are available to buy online or from stockists throughout the UK, including Harrods, Hamley’s, Selfridges, NEXT and RED5 – visit www.hexbug.com for details.

The advert can be viewed here

The Hexbug Nano’s make their TV debut in the UK

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The Hexbug Nano’s will be making their TV advertising debut in the UK when they hit the Nickelodeon airways this summer.  The 30 second advert was created in the US by White Dwarf and has been updated for the UK market by Lancashire based White Noise Productions.  The airtime package was provided by Manchester based media buying agency Media Clarity.

 

The 4 week campaign has been split into two week slots starting 19th July and 16th August and is a first for Hexbug’s creators Innovation First in the UK.  Ian Laugher, MD comments: “The Nano’s are fun gadgets for kids, and this advert reflects that perfectly, it’s been very well received in the US and we feel it’s an ideal match for the Nickelodeon channel in the UK’

 

The advert features eleven children playing with the tiny robotic bugs.  The Hexbug Nano has 12 legs, will move in any direction and with a self righting mechanism it can flip back the right way if it rolls over onto its back.  One Nano on the move is an impressive sight but throw more into the mix and it becomes a swarm; they interact and literally bounce of each other.  Also featured is the Nano habitat; hexagonal pods and easily connecting straight and curved bridges to create mazes.

 

Available in five colours; green, blue, red, orange and purple, the HEXBUG Nano is sold individually in its own ‘test tube’ container.   The Nano is the latest product in the HEXBUG range joining the Original, Inchworm, Crab and Ant.  Prices start from £8.99 and are available to buy online or from stockists throughout the UK, including Harrods, Hamley’s, Selfridges, NEXT and RED5.

 

See advert here Hexbug Nano UK TV Advert July 10

 

Innovation First Sues Urban Trend for Infringing Intellectual Property on the HEXBUG® Nano™ Toy

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Innovation First Sues Urban Trend for Infringing Intellectual Property on the HEXBUG® Nano™ Toy

Innovation First to Defend Popular HEXBUG® Nano Toys Vigorously Across the Entire Supply Chain

Greenville, Texas – May 11, 2010 – An intellectual property infringement lawsuit was filed today by Innovation First, Inc. and Innovation First Labs, Inc. against Urban Trend, LLC and two of its principals, Robert G. Kushner and Michael Stoll, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The lawsuit contends that the Defendants committed trade dress infringement, violations of the Lanham Act and other wrongful conduct in offering knock-offs of the HEXBUG® Nano™ micro robotic toys designed and sold by Innovation First. Innovation First introduced the popular HEXBUG® Nano™ Micro Robotic Creature toy line in 2009 and has achieved record sales at major retailers in the US and abroad. Recently, the HEXBUG® Nano™ bug, as it is called, has been featured on Late Show with David Letterman and The Today Show.

The lawsuit is in keeping with Innovation First’s history of protecting its brands and products through foreign and domestic trademark, copyright and patent filings. The company was one of the first in the robotics industry to aggressively seek and enforce patent, copyrights, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property associated with its technological innovations. Innovation First has adopted the same approach for its wildly popular NanoTM bug. The company has filed, and continues to file, for foreign and international intellectual property protection for virtually every aspect of the robotic creatures, as well as their packaging, marketing and associated accessories and materials. The company asserts that the lawsuit against Urban Trend is representative of how it intends to vigorously pursue violators at every step in the supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, sales representatives and even the retail outlets who profit from infringing products.

“The toy industry is notorious for breeding copycats of hot products,” said Tony Norman, president and chief executive officer of Innovation First International, Inc. “A significant part of the problem is that retailers encourage such knock-off artists by placing offending products on their retail shelves. This practice stifles innovation. Unlike a typical toy company, we are broadly diversified and not dependant solely upon toy revenue. Therefore we won’t hesitate to file suit against retailers or anyone else in the supply chain who infringes our intellectual property.”

While aggressive enforcement is promised, the company has also taken the unusual step of inviting retailers, buyers, and others in the supply chain for its products, to take a closer look at Innovation First’s intellectual property protection. This invitation is designed to educate them on the substance of the company’s patent filings and enforcement and to help them protect themselves from future legal action. Since patent rights are not enforceable until validated by the US Patent and Trademark Office, patent law suits are usually delayed while the patent office reviews the filing. The term “patent pending” is widely used to describe this review period.    Upon final issuance, many violating companies just disappear, leaving others in the supply chain responsible for infringement. Unfortunately for retailers, selling products that infringe on patent rights leaves them liable. “We welcome the opportunity to have a dialog with folks making buying decisions for relevant products so that they do not inadvertently contribute to the success of knock-off artists and expose themselves to a growing liability,” said Bob Mimlitch III, vice president and chief technology officer of Innovation First. “We want buyers to make an educated decision when they decide to buy, market, and sell a product, and reduce the chance of putting their company, or themselves, in jeopardy of intellectual property litigation.”

Innovation First has and will continue to pursue patent protection for the HEXBUG Nano. The product is extremely unique in form and function, which lends to very broad and defendable design and utility patents. The company intends to use the impending US and international patents to actively stop any copycats. In addition to the lawsuit against Urban Trend, actions against other offending toy manufacturers are under review. Retailers that are considering offering any products similar to HEXBUG Nano are welcome to contact Innovation First for details on the depth and breadth of its intellectual property protection.

The lawsuit against Urban Trend is an action for trade dress infringement, false designation of origin and false advertising under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125); copyright infringement under the United States Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 501 et seq.); injury to business reputation and dilution under § 16.29 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code; and unfair competition and unjust enrichment under the common law of the State of Texas. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants are offering blatant knock-offs of the HEXBUG® NanoTM Micro Robotic Creatures designed and sold by Innovation First. The knock-offs copy the look and feel of the Innovation First products, mirroring, among other aspects, their design, color scheme and naming conventions. Moreover, the Defendants appear to have lifted both form and content from Innovation First’s sales materials for use in their advertising. Innovation First brings this action to stop the Defendants from further infringing on Innovation First’s intellectual property and to recover for the damage caused by Defendants actions.

About HEXBUG and Innovation First:
HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc. The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

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. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In the 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Download a PDF version of this release.

The Love Bugs

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Stuck for an unusual gift this Valentine’s Day?  Why not check out the range of HEXBUGS and send your man a ‘Love Bug’ gift he won’t mind displaying on his desk at work.

 

The HEXBUG is a robotic creature that can feel its way around sensing objects in its path and avoiding them.  It can ‘hear’ and be controlled by you through a hand clap or loud noise; the sound will literally stop them in their tracks and change direction.

 

Available in five different shapes and colours – which one best describes your Valentine?

 

·        Orange (Alpha) – the colour of happiness, creativity and attraction

·        Green (Bravo) – the colour of harmony, fertility and peace

·        Blue (Charlie) – the colour of stability, loyalty and faith

·        Black (Delta) – the colour of elegance, mystery and sophistication

·        Red (Echo) – the colour of passion, desire and love

 

They make a fun Valentine’s Day gift and make a welcome change from chocolates and cuddly toys!  Buy today at http://www.hexbug.com/original

HEXBUG Nano Swarms Toys“R”Us & RadioShack Stores Nationwide

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

GREENVILLE, Texas – (Business Wire) Innovation First International, a global leader in educational and competitive robotics products and consumer robotics toys, today unveiled the HEXBUG Nano – a tiny, 1.75 inch energetic micro robotic bug that uses the physics of vibration and robotic intelligence to skitter along and explore its environment on smooth surfaces.

Planned as a series for collectors, the first release is the Nano Newton Collection of five unique bugs for kids 3 years old and up, and is now available for $7.99 each at Toys“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com, RadioShack and online at www.hexbug.com/nano. Additionally, Toys“R”Us is exclusively offering the HEXBUG Nano Habitat Set, which allows users to configure customizable mazes for the industrious creatures.

HEXBUG Nano fanatics interested in the lore of science and discovery can visit www.handandstars.com to earn points by answering science quiz questions, register their collection using the unique serial numbers included inside each test tube style package, and achieve global status and prestige in an online game that requires players to use scientific principles to build their own virtual Nano.

“HEXBUG Nano fascinates children and adults alike with its lifelike behavior while it exposes them to concepts such as cause-and-effect, momentum, center of gravity and randomness,” said Joel Carter, vice president, marketing, Innovation First International. “The Nano is also the first generation of HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures that is collectible and extends the user experience online with a world that reinforces the fun and fascination behind science and discovery through a variety of online challenges and game-play.”

Powered by a tiny motor and 12 fixed, angular legs, the industrious insect switches direction upon coming into contact with an object in its path, and possesses an uncanny sense of balance, flipping to its feet when turned on its back. Continuing to pay homage to its scientific heritage, the HEXBUG Nano family will include five unique collections, each named after an accomplished scientist. Each collection will include five distinct series, representing key scientific discoveries realized during the time period of its collection. For example, the Newton Collection, available today, includes Gravity, Orbit, Motion, Calculus and Refraction as its five series. Each Series includes five individual bugs, some of which are common while others are very rare, so collectors will need to be on the lookout for certain high point value creatures. There are also extremely rare bugs known as Mutations, which will appear from time to time. Additional collections and series will be unveiled in 2010.

HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures meet the most stringent safety regulations put into action by the new CPSIA law, designed with the underlying intention of protecting children and the environment from poisonous products.

About Innovation First International

Innovation First International, a privately held corporation, was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots, and is now an industry leader in the hobby, competition, education and toy markets. The company’s award winning Vex Robotics Design System, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures and IFI Robotics span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets. In 2007, the company launched www.RobotEvents.com, an online portal dedicated to the advancement of educational and competitive robotics, which provides comprehensive information on the latest robotics competitions, educational workshops and information for teachers and mentors. The company also created the VEX Robotics Competition in 2007, designed to give a diverse group of students the chance to celebrate their accomplishments and share their passion for robotics with each other. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes. In 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center, and corporate office located together in a 13 acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Antennaes Up! The HEXBUG Ant Colony Invades Toy Fair 2009

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Innovation First, Inc. Ramps Up Production Line for Worldwide Distribution

Toy Fair 2009

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Innovation First, Inc., an industry leader in consumer robotics toys as well as educational and competitive robotics products, today introduced the HEXBUG Ant – a speedy six-legged micro robotic creature with razor-thin, long tactile antennas and hooked claws. The ultra-engaging HEXBUG assortment is on display this week at the Jacob A. Javits Convention Center at the New York International Toy Fair 2009.

The industrious critter features front and rear touch sensors that allow it to maneuver around objects in its path and wheel-legs that propel it ten times faster than any other HEXBUG. Featuring an inner body loaded with robotic guts protected by a hard, transparent exoskeleton casing, the HEXBUG Ant is the latest autonomous creature to join the family of Inchworm, Crab and first generation creepy crawlers. Available in five colors, the HEXBUG Ant will be introduced in April 2009 exclusively at RadioShack stores across the US.

“HEXBUG creatures provide hours of fun while introducing kids to the world of robotics,” said Joel Carter, vice president marketing of Innovation First. “Our debut of the HEXBUG Ant is testament to the popularity of the brand and now, we are expanding beyond our global reach into Canada, Japan, Australia, and Asia by adding distribution in the UK and European Union.”

First introduced in 2007, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures measure just six centimeters long. Beyond the HEXBUG Ant, the portfolio includes:

  • The HEXBUG Inchworm ($19.99) is the first micro creature with Infrared (IR) remote control steering. The user can direct its looping type body movements forward, backward, left and right on either of two bands which allow two Inchworm creatures to operate at once.
  • The HEXBUG Crab ($14.99) looks and functions like a tiny crab from the ocean floor, walking sideways and stopping to hide in the dark thanks to its on-board light sensor. The Crab’s movement can be controlled through its sound sensor by clapping to scare it from its dark hiding place or send it backtracking in a different direction in the light.
  • The HEXBUG Original ($9.99) will change direction in reaction to loud sounds and physical objects in its path. There are five unique members of the HEXBUG Original family, customized with their own name, shape and vibrant color.

The HEXBUG Micro Robotic product line meets the most stringent safety regulations put into action by the new CPSIA law, designed with the underlying intention of protecting children and the environment from poisonous products.

Retail stores and chain merchandise buyers can procure Innovation First products by visiting the company’s wholesale Web portal tailored to service merchandise buyers with small and medium sized retail stores and chains. After setting up a reseller account online, buyers may log on to www.wholesale.innovationfirst.com and make wholesale purchases using a company credit card or, after establishing a credit history, Purchase Order. Users may specify shipping addresses including direct shipments to third party locations.

In addition to developing its product line and wholesale Web portal, the company has launched several online resources for the advancement of the robotics industry, including www.RobotEvents.com, which provides comprehensive information on the latest robotics news, blogs, competitive events, educational workshops and information to enthusiasts.

Note to editors: Booth #3037

About Innovation First, Inc.

Innovation First, a privately held corporation, was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began producing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots, and is now an industry leader in the hobby, toy, competition and education markets. The company’s award winning Vex Robotics Design System, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures and IFI Robotics span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center, and offices located together in a 13 acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

Toy Fair 2009 Press Release (PDF)