Oh, Apple, look what you’ve started! Okay so, I can’t really blame Apple for every piece of litigation surrounding technology but I think a lot of us here would certainly like to. This latest piece of litigation in the industry is a bit of a strange one and highlights potential foul play on Toys ‘r’ Us’ part. If you haven’t heard, the toy giant is selling a tablet aimed squarely at the little ones, by the name of ‘Tabeo’, which comes with a nice white paint job and software optimised for the little mites that know how to use the TV better than we do. However, Toys ‘r’ Us have come under fire from Fuhu – a company that contends that the toy seller signed on to become sole distributor of their children’s tablet – the Nabi – in order to gain trade secrets for their new tablet, ‘Tabeo’.
In a court filing from San Diego, its said that Toys ‘r’ Us, in October of 2011, signed an agreement to become sole distributor for the Nabi tablet but in the end did “virtually no promotion” and ordered what Toys ‘r’ Us described as enough sales for one day of the holiday season. Fuhu are accusing Toys ‘r’ Us of stealing the design of the butterfly shaped bumped used as a protective case for the tablet as well as “using Fuhu’s trade secrets and confidential information to start selling Tabeo, which systematically attempts to replicate the Nabi experience, far earlier than Toys r Us could have done otherwise, if at all.” Fuhu are not only asking for the halt of sales of the Tabeo tablet but also that any remaining units be handed over to Fuhu.
It’s all a strange tale surrounding one toy company but, I can’t say that the children’s technology market isn’t a lucrative one and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Toys ‘r’ Us were found guilty. Often, the seediest business practices come down to money and at this time of year there’s no better way to make money than selling toys to kids. Let’s just hope that whatever happens children all across America and the world get treated to some Android this Christmas, hopefully of the Jelly kind.