Toy maker Wow Stuff, together with the French police, smashed down the warehouse doors of Chefa Toys to seize counterfiet Air Swimmers last week.
The raids were made following successful applications made by Wow Stuff in the French courts. Infringing stock, computer files and sales documents were all seized.
Supermarket Leclerc has subsequently ceased selling the knock-off goods, as have all other French customers of Chefa Toys - one of the most prolific suppliers of fake Air Swimmers.
At the Tribunal Grand Instance in Paris writs were served against fourteen defendants – including Leclerc and supermarket chain Hyper U – for intellectual property infringement claiming damages, legal costs and interest.
Richard North, founder and CEO of Wow Stuff said: “We are a toy company that relies on innovation both internally and in association with inventors all over the world. We have the defence of our intellectual property rights as a core business value so we would be contradicting what we stand for if we gave up.
He added: “I hear about IP infringement all the time and many good friends in the industry who create wonderful toys are sometimes in despair at the illegal rip offs that steal their investment. This is making a stand for all those toy creators and showing that with absolute persistent it does pay to prosecute and take these rogues all the way through the court.”
Wow Stuff has spent more than £150,000 on patent
and claims that sales of knock-off Air Swimmers cost the business £25 million in sales last year.
Wow Stuff's raid was reported in the Financial Times
Wow Stuff estimates that it’s legal costs could rise to £500,000 once actions against counterfeiters in other countries are perused.
“We have the resources and determination to pursue infringers not only in the UK but throughout the European Union and where we own rights anywhere in the world,” said North.
He continued: “Our legal team has commenced actions in the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland against infringers which will be followed in due course with actions in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. As the proceedings in France show, Wow Stuff is not afraid of taking on big names. Quite the contrary, we will pursue them vigorously until they focus on their own creations or ambitions and not those of others. We have met with our MP and we are going to help take this to the highest levels of government.”
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