The international toy distributor, Calculix, has been stripped of its Spielwarenmesse ToyAward, following accusations that its winning product, the Calculix number bricks, was a direct rip-off of a toy line it had previously distributed on behalf of the company, Sumblox.
This marks the first time in the history of Spielwarenmesse’s ToyAwards that is has had to retrospectively retract an accolade from one of its category winners.
Calculix had been handed the award for its counting system Calculix number bricks in the Startup category at the 71st Spielwarenmesse toy fair. It was during the event that Sumblox – whose products were, until recently distributed by Calculix – accused the company of IP infringement.
Following an investigation conducted by the management of Spielwarenmesse, as well as further research and legal review, all parties came to the conclusion that Sumblox had been distributed in the US market since October 2014.
It was also established that the Calculix building blocks are almost identical in appearance to the Sumblox.
Originality of product has always been one of the main criteria for selecting winners of the Spielwarenmesse ToyAwards.
Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, said: “Our interest in this matter lies solely in protecting the ToyAwards. We need to ensure that they are only awarded to products that fully comply with the criteria.
“It appears that Calculix no longer meets these important requirements. For this reason, the Spielwarenmesse is exercising its right, as stated in its Terms and Conditions, to strip the company of the ToyAward 2020, presented in the Startup category on 28 January, with immediate effect.”