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.