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August 2011 | Vol. X - No. 8


Toys in the News: 08-31-11

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Toys R Us to Open Fewer Pop-up Stores This Year. August 31, 2011 — Toys R Us Inc, the world's largest toy retailer, plans to open fewer temporary pop-up stores this year...

Lego's Half-Year 2011 Profit Soars 32 pct. August 31, 2011
— Danish toy maker Lego said Tuesday its first-half profit rose 32 percent...

PS Brands & HIT Entertainment Partner to Put Their Best Feet Forward with New Thomas & Friends™ Socks & Crib Shoes in the US. August 31, 2011
— HIT Entertainment, a leading provider of quality children's entertainment, and PS Brands, LLC are pleased to announce today a new partnership for Thomas & Friends™ character socks and crib shoes.

The Math Gender Gap: Nurture Trumps Nature. August 31, 2011 — Rural India might not seem a likely place to study the roots of gender differences in math performance...

Illinois Governor signs Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (LPPA) Reform Legislation. August 31, 2011 — On August 26, 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed reform legislation (SB 1943) that makes clarifying changes...

Bratz Doll Maker Drops Malpractice Claim Against O’Melveny. August 30, 2011 — Bratz doll maker MGA has dropped a malpractice claim against O’Melveny & Myers...

Pacific Cycle Recalls Swing Sets Due to Fall Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Toys R Us. August 30, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 5,500 Playsafe Dartmouth Swing Set from Pacific Cycle Inc., sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores nationwide from January 2011 through May 2011 for about $270. The sling-style swing seats can crack or split prematurely, posing a fall hazard to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the sling-style swing seats, remove the seats from the swing set and contact Pacific Cycle to obtain free replacement seats.

King Features Reboots Betty Boop. August 30, 2011 — King Features Syndicate unveiled its new Betty Boop style guide...

October Conference to Share Tips about Building Better Apps. August 30, 2011 — There’s little question that the convergence of technology and toys has had a profound influence on the next generation of play...

Back-to-School Ads Didn’t Make the Grade. August 30, 2011 — Target failed to crack a ranking of the top 10 most effective back-to-school ads compiled by Ace Metrix...

Disney Factory Faces Probe Into Sweatshop Suicide Claims. August 29, 2011 — Disney's best-selling Cars toys are being made in a factory in China that uses child labour...

Toy Testing Council Teeters on the Brink. August 29, 2011 — The Canadian Toy Testing Council may be forced to close its doors as it enters its 60th year in operation...

Toys 'R' Us IPO Deferred On Stock Market Concerns. August 29, 2011 — According to insider sources familiar with the situation, the initial public offering (IPO) of Toys ‘R’ Us...

Think-a-lot Toys Introduces Holiday-Themed Think-ets Game. August 29, 2011
— Think-a-lot Toys will release a Holiday Think-ets game, along will several other new styles, according to a press release.

Disney Eliminates Marvel Marketing Staff in Restructuring. August 26, 2011 — Walt Disney Co. eliminated Marvel Studios’ marketing department...

NRF: Proposed Regulatory Relief Must go Further. August 26, 2011 — The National Retail Federation welcomed plans announced by the Obama Administration Tuesday to streamline hundreds of government regulations...

Eva Longoria Lends Support to 2011 Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®. August 26, 2011
— For nearly 20 years, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has provided parents, caregivers and gift-givers with reliable toy recommendations for the children with special needs in their the company announced the launch of the 2011 edition of the Guide featuring actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria on the cover, alongside Elijah De La Cerda, a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome from Fresno, CA. Released annually, this complimentary resource is created with guidance from the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible to children of all abilities.

SKECHERS® and McDonald's® Launch Licensing Agreement. August 26, 2011 — SKECHERS USA, Inc....the number two footwear brand in the United States, announced that the company is working with McDonald's® to launch a three-week Happy Meal® promotion with Twinkle Toes® by SKECHERS® starting Friday, August 26, in the United States and Canada.

The National Parenting Center Announces Fall 2011 Seal of Approval Winners. August 25, 2011 — The National Parenting Center has announced it's Seal of Approval winners for Fall 2011. The list of winners is searchable by category, here.

EA and Dunkin' Donuts Team Up for Launch of The Sims Social on Facebook. August 25, 2011 — Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Dunkin' announced a collaboration to feature Dunkin' Donuts products in The Sims Social Facebook® game. Players will be able to enjoy Dunkin' Donuts menu items within the game and enhance their gameplay experience and interactions with friends on Facebook®.

Round 2 Rolls out 'Dark Shadows' Kit. August 25, 2011 — MPC, a brand of Round 2, is rolling out its "Dark Shadows" plastic model kits...

KFC in Australia Tries to Put Stop to 'Pester Power'. August 25, 2011 — Parents in Australia may find themselves being pestered by their kids less when it comes to fast-food kids meals.

Playmobil Launches Unassembled Mystery Toys in a Bag . August 25, 2011
— Playmobil is taking on Lego with the launch of a new mystery bag range in the UK and its German home market...

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple. August 24, 2011 — Apple's Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief Operating Officer, as the company's new CEO.

Studio Scraps Big Screen Adaptation of Hasbro's 'Ouija.' August 24, 2011 — Universal has scrapped plans to make "Ouija," a movie based on Hasbro's fortune-telling game board.

New Joint Venture Will Liquidate $52 Million in Inventory From The Russ Companies, Inc. August 24, 2011 — SB Capital Group, LLC, Worldwide Merchandise Resources Corporation and Just Inventory Solutions, LLC announced today the formation of a joint venture to dispose of all remaining inventory of iconic gift maker The Russ Companies, Inc. The joint venture was the successful bidder of the inventory sold as a result of Chapter 7 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court.

Toymaker JAKKS Looks Inward For Operating Chief. August 24, 2011
— Toymaker JAKKS Pacific Inc. on Wednesday named a company veteran as its new chief operating officer.

Munchkin, Inc. Adds Gary Rolfes as New Chief Financial Officer. August 24, 2011
— Munchkin, Inc., leading designer and manufacturer of clever infant and toddler products, today announced the appointment of Gary Rolfes as Chief Financial Officer.

PERSPECTIVES: A Glimpse Inside the Re-Vitalized Toy Association of Southern California (TASC). August 24, 2011 — Peter Wachtel, Chief Creative KID/Owner & President @ KID Toyology and President of the Toy Association of Southern California (TASC), recently spoke with TIA editors...

The Orb Factory Receives "The Industry Leader Award" from Learning Express. August 24, 2011 — The Orb Factory is proud to announce it recently received three prestigious awards from Learning Express, the largest educational toy retailer in North America. The 2011 awards are for: The Industry Leader Award, Best Toy for Girls Ages 5+, and Best Toy Award in Arts & Crafts.

Toys R Us to Open 21 New Stores Before Year Ends. August 23, 2011 — Toys R Us Inc. said Tuesday that it will open 21 new stores...

New State Law Requires Chemical Data on Certain Children's Products. August 23, 2011 — Washington state is requiring manufacturers of toys, cosmetics, jewelry and baby products to report...

Indian Toy Industry Worth Rs 1700 cr is Here to Stay. August 23, 2011 — If you don't know who Lightning McQueen, Marlena and Sebastien are, ask any preteen...

Is "Assortative Mating" to Blame for the Rise of Autism? August 23, 2011 — Could places like Silicon Valley be breeding a whole generation of kids with autism or Asperger's syndrome?

Department, Clothing Stores Are Expected Winners in Final Back-to-School Shopping Rush. August 23, 2011
— As the final days of summer tick away for kids around the country, more families plan to visit department stores, clothing stores and websites...

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Get Barbie Treatment. August 23, 2011 — Country music superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are getting the Barbie doll treatment.

LEGO Systems Survey Finds that Combining Music With Playtime Makes Children More Engaged. August 23, 2011
— Listening to music during playtime makes children happier, sillier, more excited and engages them in play for longer amounts of time...

Joester Loria Cuts Annoying Orange Deals. August 23, 2011 — The Joester Loria Group has brokered apparel and accessory deals for The Collective's Annoying Orange...

Details on the New Toy Story Short Attached to The Muppets. August 22, 2011 — In February, we reported that Disney and Pixar would be attaching a new Toy Story short...

Appeals Court Rejects Class Action Against Maker of Recalled Aqua Dots Toy. August 22, 2011 — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling denying class action certification...

Boy's High-Risk Laser Toy Leaves Him With Sight Loss. August 22, 2011 — An 11-year-old boy has permanent eye damage from the beam of a green laser pointer that was bought as a toy.

ABC Kids Expo Partners with Creators of "Biggest Loser" and to Launch New Reality Series at 2011 Show. August 22, 2011 — All Baby & Child, Inc. and the ABC Kids Expo® are excited to announce the launch of a new reality TV show, "Born by Moms," at the 2011 ABC Kids Expo in Louisville, KY...This new television production focuses on products invented by mompreneurs—entrepreneurs who happen to be moms, according to a press release.

Alfred Angelo to Debut Line of Prom Dresses Inspired by Disney Princesses. August 22, 2011 — Alfred Angelo, leading gown manufacturer, is pleased to announce its second collaboration with Disney Consumer Products, this time on the launch of the 2012 prom collection— Disney Royal Ball by Alfred Angelo.

Activision Partners with ABC. August 22, 2011 — Activision Publishing and ABC Entertainment Group plan to release Wipeout 2...

Disney Launches Rockstar Mickey with Concert at D23 Expo. August 22, 2011 — Disney celebrated the launch of their new interactive musical plush, Rockstar Mickey, with a concert from Constantine Maroulis. Rockstar Mickey follows the success of last year's Dance Star Mickey. The toy will be available on September 6, according to a press release.

Newark Group to Hold Buy-Back of Toy Guns. August 22, 2011 — A New Jersey anti-violence group is conducting its own kind of weapons buy-back...

Disney Plans New Percy Jackson Book. August 19, 2011 — Disney Publishing Worldwide will release the next Percy Jackson book...

Kids Magazines on Top in U.K. August 19, 2011 — The latest ABC figures reveal that children's magazines using licensed content topping the charts in the U.K...

Mattel must post $315M while ruling on appeal. August 19, 2011 — A federal judge has ordered toy giant Mattel Inc. to post a $315 million bond while it appeals...

Mattel has the Best Relative Performance in the Leisure Products Industry. August 19, 2011 — Below are the top five companies in the Leisure Products industry...

Moshi Monsters Make Their Video Game Debut This Fall In Moshi Monster™: Moshling Zoo. August 18, 2011 — The hit global children’s brand Moshi Monsters™ is headed to the Nintendo DS™ this fall in Moshi Monsters™: Moshling Zoo, collaborators Activision Publishing, Inc. and Mind Candy today announced.

GUND® Signs Licensing Deal for Curious George. August 18, 2011 — GUND®.. announced today it has signed a licensing deal with Universal Partnerships & Licensing for the classic book property Curious George, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Disney Donates $500K and Eight Million Books to First Book. August 18, 2011 — The D23 Expo, the Disney fan event, will be held this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center...

Griffin Releases iPhone-Controlled Toy Helicopter. August 18, 2011 — For a mere $50 you, too, can own a small, iPhone-controlled helicopter...

Table-Top Clip-on Chair Recalled by phil&teds USA Due to Fall and Amputation Hazards. August 18, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: 54,000 "metoo" Clip-on Chairs from phil&teds USA Inc, sold at Buy Buy Baby, Target, Toys R Us and their online sites;;; other online retailers; and a variety of independent juvenile specialty stores from May 2006 to May 2011 for between $40 and $50. Missing or worn clamp pads allow the chairs to detach from a variety of different table surfaces, posing a fall hazard.

Talicor Announces Todd Jacobs as President. August 18, 2011 — Talicor/Aristoplay, a publishing company in the Board Game industry, is proud to announce Todd Jacobs has accepted the role as President.

New Survey Finds Shoppers Using Smartphones and Tablets for Back to School. August 18, 2011 — Nearly one-third of tablet owners will use device to purchase back-to-school items.

Analyst: Markets outside US may lift toy makers. August 17, 2011 — A pickup in sales of movie-related toys this year and demand outside the U.S. could help offset...

'Smurfs' vs. 'Cars 2': Who's Winning the Toy Wars?. August 17, 2011 — Licensed merchandise becomes more critical and studios search for the secret to extending a franchise's shelf life.

Production Planned for 'Pip!' Property. August 17, 2011 — Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment will begin production on the animated series "Pip!"...

Sqwishland Wins Creative Child Award. August 17, 2011 — The judges at Creative Child have awarded Sqwishland...

DCD to Rep Redan Brands. August 17, 2011 — DCD Publishing will represent the Redan Publishing group for licensing...

Riding Toy Recalled by Radio Flyer Due to Fall Hazard. August 16, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 165,000 Scoot 'n Zoom children's riding toys from Radio Flyer, sold at Walmart and other retailers, and online at and from August 2010 through August 2011 for about $20. The riding toy can tip over allowing a child to fall forward while riding, posing a fall hazard to young children. Consumers should immediately take the recalled products away from children and contact Radio Flyer to receive a free replacement unit or refund.

Hasbro Reclaims Dungeons & Dragons Rights From Atari Following Legal Dispute. August 16, 2011 — A legal dispute between toymaker Hasbro and Atari Corp over the digital licensing rights for Dungeons & Dragons...

Ignition Expands Fraggle Rock. August 16, 2011 — Ignition Licensing is bringing back the Fraggle Rock children's property with a raft of...

Design Objectives Extends with Hallmark. August 16, 2011 — Design Objectives, which maintains the U.K.’s leading craft website, extended its licensing deal...

Racing Toy, DaGeDar™ Teams Up With Tony Hawk on Birdhouse Skateboarding Tour Across America. August 16, 2011 — This summer as Cepia LLC, the makers of ZhuZhu Pets®, release their latest toy DaGeDar™ across America, they will also join Tony Hawk and the Birdhouse Skateboards team for the "MIA to NYC" skateboarding tour.

Mattel and THQ Plan Barbie Game. August 16, 2011 — Mattel and THQ will release the Barbie Jet, Set & Style video game...

Fox Taps Little Debbie for Rio Promo. August 16, 2011 — Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has partnered with Little Debbie to promote...

Worx Toys Launches Interactive "Shape-Code-Activated" Vehicle & Storybook Systems. August 16, 2011 — Since every curious kid asks how things work, Worx Toys today launches a line of toy vehicles that gives children ages 6-9 a clear look inside them while identifying each of their parts with code-activated lights and sounds. Corresponding storybooks give each part a real-world context and explains what it does...

New survey sheds light on QR code use. August 16, 2011 — About 6.2% of 14 million mobile phone users have scanned a quick response or bar code...

Walmart Makes More Merchandising Changes. August 15, 2011 — Senior leadership within Walmart’s merchandising organization continues to undergo a transformation...

SEE Virtual Worlds® and SEE Games Secure Licensing Rights. August 15, 2011 — SEE Virtual Worlds® and SEE Games, entertainment companies publishing digital and online games tied to licensed franchises, today announced they have teamed with major entertainment companies... Among these properties are licenses tied to 2012 blockbuster film releases of “Men in Black™ 3,” “Total Recall™(2012)” and “Asterix®” along with the well-known films “War of the Worlds” (2005) and “Waterworld.”

Santoro Adds Gorjuss Products. August 15, 2011 — Santoro added a new licensee to its Gorjuss program, and celebrated the launch of two product lines.

Big Tent Expands Domo Program. August 15, 2011 — Big Tent Entertainment added four new partners to the Domo licensing program.

ABC Kids Expo 2011 Keeps Industry & Attendees Connected with Social Media. August 12, 2011 — Buyers and sellers in the juvenile products industry will "virtually" be able to keep up with all the latest developments at the 2011 ABC Kids Expo® via Facebook, Twitter and blog posts made by show staff and attendees. The 800 square foot "Blog Bistro" sponsored by Baby & Kids Magazine will be the show's centerpiece of high-tech connectivity, according to a press release.

Disney Q3 earnings beat Wall St. expectations. August 12, 2011 — Gains in revenue (7%) and net income (11%) keep strong conglom reports rolling...

Toys “R” Us announces rooftop solar installation at New Jersey DC. August 12, 2011
— Toys“R”Us said Thursday it has completed a 5.38 megawatt rooftop solar power system...

Toys 'R' Us Wants a Robot (to Sell) for Christmas. August 12, 2011 The retailer bets My Keepon, a fuzzy yellow dancing robot originally built for autistic kids, will be a holiday hit.

All Eyes on Same-Store Sales. August 12, 2011
— Walmart is due to report second quarter results on Tuesday, and the same-store sales and traffic trends...

Consumers Still Have Desire to Shop as July Retail Sales Increase, According to NRF. August 12, 2011 — Amid concerns that consumers would begin pulling back on their spending, the back-to-school season started with a bang...

Big Time Toys Launches the Incredible Shrinky Dinks Maker. August 12, 2011 Realizing the popular trend of retro toys, Big Time Toys has created a new child-safe oven which allows children to actually see their Shrinky Dinks magically shrink their very own creations...this oven is called THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKY DINKS MAKER.

Mattel will appeal the federal judge's ordered to pay MGA Entertainment. August 11, 2011 Mattel's attorneys filed an appeal Thursday against last week's decision by U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter that it must pay MGA Entertainment $309 million in damages, fees and other costs. (The judge had also rejected Mattel's bid for a new trial.)

TOMY International Acquires Boon, Inc. and Keen Distribution LLC. August 11, 2011
TOMY International today announced it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Boon, Inc. and Keen Distribution LLC (together "Boon/Keen"). Boon/Keen is a privately-held, developer, marketer and distributor of innovative mother, infant and toddler products.

F+W Sued for Holiday Parody. August 11, 2011 Parody may be the highest form of flattery, but that’s not the way CCA and B, LLC...

FAB*Starpoint Newest Zoodorable™ Licensee. August 11, 2011
CopCorp Licensing President Carole Postal today announced that FAB*Starpoint has been granted the rights to produce and sell a wide range of Back-to-School products featuring Zoodorable™.

DCD Publishing to represent Magic Belles Brand. August 11, 2011
DCD Publishing has been appointed by Design studio Luma Creative as global licensing agent to represent its first originated character brand, MAGIC BELLES.

AMT to Individually Release Munster Koach™ & Drag-u-la® Model Kits. August 11, 2011 AMT®, a brand of Round 2, LLC, is happy to announce that the Munster Koach and Grandpa’s Drag-U-La, the classic vehicle model kits based on “The Munsters” TV series, will be returning this fall in individual cardboard boxes, decked out in the original packaging art. The product is licensed by NBC Universal Television Consumer Products Group.

Trend Lab Picks Up Nickelodeon License. August 11, 2011 Nickelodeon Consumer Products has tapped nursery décor company...

EMI Scores Music Rights for Pocoyo. August 11, 2011 Zinkia Entertainment has signed an agreement that grants the global music rights...

Membrain Licensing Gets GAMAGO. August 10, 2011 Beverly Hills-based licensing and brand management firm memBrain Licensing announced today its appointment to represent the popular San Francisco-based design brand and giftware company, GAMAGO, for worldwide licensing and merchandising opportunities. GAMAGO is known for their unique apparel, accessories, gifts and toys, according to a press release.

Children's Toy Can Jam FBI Radios, Researchers Say. August 10, 2011 Expensive high-tech digital radios used by the FBI, the US secret service and Homeland Security...

Mattel To Launch Worldwide UNO Tournament On Facebook, $40,000 Sweepstakes. August 10, 2011
UNO, the classic card game by Mattel, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Retail Container Traffic Drops Below Last Year But Expected To See Gains As Holidays Approach. August 10, 2011
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports will remain below last year’s levels for the remainder of the summer before seeing year-over-year gains again this fall as retailers begin to stock up for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Saban Signs Paul Frank Deals Down Under. August 10, 2011 Saban Brands has appointed Haven Licensing as the new agent for Paul Frank...

SKECHERS Signs Licensing Agreement for SKECHERS-Branded Youth Electronics. August 10, 2011 SKECHERS USA, Inc. today announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with Sakar International to produce youth electronics and accessories featuring SKECHERS branding and SKECHERS Kids’ animated characters.

SwaddleDesigns Introduces New Angry Birds Baby Products. August 10, 2011 SwaddleDesigns®, a trusted and award-winning baby product company founded by Designer Lynette Damir, RN, today announced that SwaddleDesigns and Rovio have signed a definitive agreement granting SwaddleDesigns licensing and merchandising rights for Angry Birds

Parent Tested Parent Approved Summer 2011 Award Winners Announced. August 10, 2011
For a complete list of award winners, visit the newly updated website.

India Revises Toy Safety Standard for Phthalates to Conform with Global Requirements. August 10, 2011 The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has updated its requirements for phthalates in toys to align with the phthalate limit currently in place in more than 30 countries...

Consumer Reports Index Reveals Americans Still Stressed by Economy. August 9, 2011 Consumer Reports announced that its Index, which measures overall consumer sentiment, fell to its lowest level since December 2009 and registered its sharpest drop in two years, as recent events in Washington about the debt ceiling debate fixed attention on the weak economy.

Mom's Best Award Announces Winning Products. August 9, 2011 Mom's Best Award recognizes the best of the best in juvenile products, toys, apparel and media as evaluated by real moms. The lists of award winners can be seen here.

Hot Wheels® Partners with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. August 9, 2011
In time for back-to-school, Hot Wheels® today announced that it has teamed up with NASCAR superstar, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to design his ultimate Hot Wheels® dream car, the “Hammerhead,” along with a corresponding line of licensed apparel.

Facebook May Cause Serious Mental Health Problems in Kids, Studies Show. August 9, 2011
Psychological studies show that heavy Facebook use among children and teenagers may cause a variety of worrisome mental health problems.

Real Steel Toys Reveal New Robots. August 9, 2011 Entertainment Earth has announced a new toy line for the upcoming DreamWorks Pictures robot-boxing adventure Real Steel, which hits theaters nationwide on October 7.

Uglydoll Teams Up With US Open. August 9, 2011 Uglydoll has created three tennis-players plush characters, which are available online and will be sold at the US Open in Queens, N.Y.

505 Games Previews Rugby Game. August 9, 2011Publisher 505 Games and developer HB Studios have partnered with USA Rugby to create the official Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament video game.

JAKKS Pacific to Buy Hong Kong Toy Company. August 8, 2011 JAKKS Pacific will buy Moose Mountain Toymakers Limited, a Hong Kong-based company that makes arcade-style games, children's tents and other toys.

Bob the Builder Fixes it for Takeover. August 8, 2011 — Mattel, the American toy giant that makes Barbie, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Hit Entertainment, owned by UK private equity firm Apax Partners.

InkTec Opens Dedicated Production Facility for Thinfilm Memory. August 8, 2011 Thinfilm's partner InkTec upgrades and expands their production capacity. Several leading toy manufacturers have purchased the Thinfilm Toy Development Kit and are evaluating specific toy concepts based on Thinfilm Memory.

American Girl Unveils Two New Historical Characters. August 8, 2011 — For the first time in American Girl's 25-year history, the company is introducing two different historical characters, Cécile Rey™ and Marie-Grace Gardner™, in one six-book series set in 1850s New Orleans.

Nick to Exhibit SpongeBob Art in Russia. August 8, 2011 — Nickelodeon Russia, a unit of Viacom International Media Networks, is planning "Absorbent: A SpongeBob Exhibit," a modern art exhibition that will run Sept. 16-Oct. 2 at the Flacon Design Plant in Moscow.

Endemol Plans Motion Control Social Game. August 8, 2011 — Endemol Games U.K. will launch one of the world’s first motion control social games, Total Wipeout: Big Ball Run, based on Endemol's TV show "Total Wipeout."

Discovery Signs Lisciani Giochi. August 8, 2011 — Discovery Communications inked a deal with Italian toy licensee Lisciani Giochi for its kids’ brand, Explore Your World.

Mattel must pay MGA $310 million in Bratz case. August 5, 2011 A federal judge ordered toy giant Mattel Inc. to pay bitter rival MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $309 million in damages, fees and other costs in the long-running dispute over the billion-dollar Bratz doll line and rejected Mattel's bid for a new trial.

July Same-Store Sales Slow. August 5, 2011 After strong performance in June, retail same-store sales slowed to 4.8 percent growth in July.

Saban Launches New Digital Group. August 5, 2011 Saban Brands is expanding its capabilities and initiatives in all aspects of digital content, social media and interactive products by forming an in-house digital department.

Big Idea to Release VeggieTales Books. August 5, 2011 Big Idea Entertainment will release several new VeggieTales publishing offerings direct to retailers through Word Distribution for the Christian market and Freeman-Smith for the general market Aug. 13.

Disney to Unveil Products at D23. August 5, 2011 Disney Consumer Products will debut new and exclusive Disney merchandise at D23 Expo, a fan event scheduled for Aug. 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Recalls Lapel Pins Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard. August 5, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 26,500 pins in the United States, and 2,200 in Canada, "Love.Hugs.Peace" lapel pins, sold by Build-A-Bear Workshop stores nationwide and online at from July 2009 through October 2010 for $3.50 in the US and $4 (CDN) in Canada. Surface paints on the lapel pin contain excessive levels of lead which is prohibited under federal law. Consumers should stop using the lapel pins and return the lapel pin to any Build-A-Bear Workshop store to receive a $5 store coupon. If it is not possible to return the pin to a store, you can contact the company for alternate instructions on receiving a refund.

Target Recalls Step Stools with Storage Due to Fall Hazard. August 5, 2011
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 206,000 Step Stools with Storage, sold at Target stores nationwide and online at from January 2007 through October 2010 for between $25 and $30. The wooden step stools can break apart or collapse under the weight of the user, posing a fall hazard. Target has received 26 reports of the stools breaking or collapsing; fourteen incidents involved children. Consumers should immediately stop using the step stools and return them to any Target store to receive a full refund.

Maternity Square Showcase Returns to ABC Kids Expo in 2011. August 5, 2011 ABC Kids Expo® has announced that its Maternity Square® Showcase will be back in 2011. The showcase, which debuted in 2010, was such a success that ABC is expanding the showcase and continuing to offer the runway to allow exhibitors to feature and demonstrate their products from the "big stage," according to a press release.

Marvel & Williams-Sonoma Team For Kitchenware Collection. August 4, 2011 Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a global character-based entertainment licensing company, and Williams-Sonoma, a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands, today announced the launch of an exclusive collection of Super Hero kitchen and bakeware merchandise exclusively sold at Williams-Sonoma.

CVS Agrees to $45,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Drawstrings in Children’s Jackets. August 4, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that CVS Pharmacy, Inc., of Woonsocket, R.I., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $45,000. The penalty resolves CPSC staff’s allegations that CVS knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that it had sold children’s hooded jackets with drawstrings at the neck from August 2008 to January 2009. Children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings, including sweatshirts, sweaters, and jackets, poses strangulation and entanglement hazards to children that can result in serious injury or death.

When Will Retail Stores Die? Shopping's Future Examined. August 4, 2011 Video game publisher Electronic Arts recently made waves by asserting that retail is destined to die, with its days currently numbered thanks to the continued growth of digital distribution and download services.

Maya the Bee Signs Egmont. August 4, 2011 Studio 100 and Egmont Kids Media have teamed up to bring Maya the Bee to publishing in Central and Eastern Europe.

Kidz Bop Adds Books. August 4, 2011 To celebrate Kidz Bop’s 10th anniversary, the company will pair with Adams Media to launch the first-ever Kidz Bop book series.

Sokikom Wins Association of Educational Publishers’ Distinguished Achievement Award. August 4, 2011 Sokikom, the massively multiplayer online math social learning game, continues to grow its list of honors and accolades with the recent addition of a Distinguished Achievement Award (DAA) from the Association of Educational Publishers’ (AEP).

CopCorp Seals Cuties Deal. August 4, 2011 CopCorp Licensing announced a deal granting digital publisher MoveableCode the right to use Tom Arma’s “costumed cuties” images for a new e-book story series.

LBX Robots Ready to Battle the Americas. August 4, 2011 “The Little Battlers eXperience” (LBX), a Japanese television series and franchise based on miniature customizable robots, is heading into the Americas, announced Dentsu Entertainment USA.

ThunderCats Add Four U.K. Partners. August 4, 2011 Warner Bros Consumer Products has announced four additional U.K. partners for its ThunderCats licensing program.

Innovation First Sues Clinton Cards & Only 4 U Limited for Intellectual Property Infringement of the HEXBUG® Nano™. August 3, 2011 Innovation First International (UK) Limited and Innovation First, Inc. filed a lawsuit last week against the greeting cards and gifts retail chain with over 800 stores in the UK, Clinton Cards plc, as well as one of its suppliers, Only 4 U Limited, and the supplier’s managing director, Mr. Kishorilal Devchand Gosar Shah, asserting claims of intellectual property infringement in respect of the popular “Mum’s Choice” award-winning HEXBUG® Nano™ micro robotic toy.

Goodbaby and Mattel Line Up in Battle Over Baby Strollers. August 3, 2011 The Chinese baby stroller maker Goodbaby Group is planning to file a lawsuit in the United States against legendary US toy maker Mattel Inc claiming it infringed on patents for more than seven years.

Bleacher Creatures™ Launches New Line of NFL Character Toys. August 3, 2011 Officially licensed by NFL Properties LLC and NFL PLAYERS, the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, each Bleacher Creature plush character is dressed in his team uniform.

House and Senate Approve Urgently Needed CPSIA Amendment; White House Receives Bill for President Obama’s Signature. August 3, 2011 Following last night’s Senate approval by Unanimous Consent and a strong, bipartisan vote of support (421-2) in the House of Representatives, a long-awaited amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 has been forward to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The President’s approval of H.R. 2715 is expected.

AIA Announces the Winner of the AIA Architect Barbie® Dream House™ Design Competition. August 3, 2011 The design submitted by Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA, received the most public votes, out of the 8,470 votes registered, in the AIA Architect Barbie® Dream House™ competition that was orchestrated by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Innovation First Unleashes New HEXBUG® Robotic Species and Enhanced Nano Habitat Sets for the Holidays. August 3, 2011 Today, Innovation First Labs, Inc., creator of the HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, revealed its back to school and holiday product line-up, which includes the Nano Hive Habitat Set for kids on the go, a slithering new HEXBUG Larva, the re-designed TIA Specialty Toy of the Year Nano Habitat Set featuring the Construct System, and two limited edition HEXBUG Nano bugs outfitted for Halloween and the Holiday season with festive features and packaging.

Sesame Workshop Makes New Hire for Licensing, Partner Relations. August 3, 2011 Jennifer Ahearn has been made the VP of licensing and strategic partner relations at Sesame Workshop.

Moshi Monsters Toys Hit Shelves in North America. August 3, 2011 Moshi Monsters toys will be sold exclusively at Toys"R"Us in the US beginning on August 5th. More than 15 million kids in NOrth America have an online Moshi Monster, and there are more than 50 million users worldwide, according to a press release.

Toy Keys with Remote Recalled by Battat Due to Choking Hazard. August 2, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 1,080,000 in the United States (and 3,600 in Canada) Toy keys with remote from Battat Inc., sold at Retailers nationwide and online sellers from April 2010 to May 2011 for B. FunKeys, and from January 2006 to December 2009 for Parents Magazine keys for about $9. The metal toy keys and the plastic key ring can break, posing a choking hazard. Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy keys away from children and contact Battat to receive a free mailer to return the item for replacement keys.

Children's Books Finally Receive Exemption from CPSIA Testing Requirements. August 2, 2011
On Monday, three years after the August 2008 enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), publishers of ink-on-paper books and other printed materials suddenly received news they’d been hoping for from the outset.

Zibbers Now Canadian Distributor for Sqwishland. August 2, 2011 Toronto-based Zibbers Inc. is now the exclusive Canadian distributor of SqwishLand, the company behind the soft 'n squishy™ rubbery characters that come with a code for online gameplay.

Four Convicted and Sentenced in Youth Research Lighter Testing Fraud Case. August 2, 2011
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today announced the final of four sentences handed down in federal court against the president of Tampa- based Youth Research, Inc., and its contractors. Youth Research’s president and two of the firm’s contractors were convicted of various federal offenses related to falsifying data in connection with child resistance testing of cigarette and multi-purpose lighters.

K’NEX® Inducted into the Made in the USA Hall of Fame. August 2, 2011 K'NEX is pleased to be one of the 2011 inductees into the Made in the USA Hall of Fame.

Sanrio and Mattel to Release Hello Kitty Uno Card Game. August 2, 2011 Sanrio is collaborating with the toy and game maker Mattel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Uno card game with a special Uno Hello Kitty game release in September in Japan.

PBS Announces 'Mister Rogers' Next Generation Spin-Off. August 2, 2011
A decade after children’s classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ceased production, PBS has just announced an animated spin-off to the series hosted by a familiar personality from the original show.

McDonald's Goes Blue This Summer With Launch of "The Smurfs®." August 2, 2011 Celebrating today's release of The Smurfs®, Columbia Pictures' and Sony Pictures Animation's 3-D family comedy, the worldwide Happy Meal program promotes the importance of good environmental stewardship and family togetherness. The Happy Meal fun, which focuses on the great taste and appeal of fruits and vegetables, kicked off at participating McDonald's restaurants in Latin America on July 14 and in North America today, rolling out around the world through November.

Easy-Bake Gets a Remake as 100-watt Bulbs are Phased Out. August 2, 2011 After baking cakes and cookies with 100-watt lightbulbs for almost half a century, the Easy-Bake Oven is getting a makeover.

Peppa Pig Sales Top 5 Million. August 1, 2011 Entertainment One reported that the Peppa Pig franchise has sold more than 5 million DVDs, becoming the U.K.’s leading pre-school brand.

Bravo Sports Recalls Disney-Branded Pogo Sticks Due to Fall and Laceration Hazards. August 1, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 159,000 Disney-Branded Pogo sticks from Bravo Sports, sold at Burlington Coat Factory, Kmart,, Target and Toys R Us from February 2009 through June 2011 for about $20. The bottom rubber tip attached to the pogo stick frame can wear out prematurely, posing a fall hazard to consumers. Also, the end caps on the handlebars can come off, exposing sharp edges. This poses a laceration hazard to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the pogo sticks and contact Bravo Sports for a full refund.

Aurora Signs for RSPCA Plush Lines for the UK. August 1, 2011 The RSPCA signed soft toy designer and distributor Aurora to produce a range of branded plush animals for the UK.

Cars 2 to Become Most Lucrative Film Toy Franchise Ever. August 1, 2011 Cars 2 , the animated film about a cheeky racing car, is set to become the most lucrative film toy franchise in history outstripping even Star Wars and Toy Story.

Children Play Like Scientists Work. July 29, 2011 Young children play like scientists work, according to a new research project at MIT and Stanford University. The findings, which were published in the journal Cognition, reveal how 4- and 5-year-olds approach games methodically.

Hasbro Partners with Target. July 29, 2011 Hasbro will unveil its exclusive My Little Pony retail program at U.S. Target stores July 31.

Supremacy MMA Hits PS Vita. July 29, 2011
Video game publisher 505 Games and Kung Fu Factory will release Supremacy MMA on PlayStationVita this fall.

France restricts sale of foam puzzle mats containing formamide. July 29, 2011 France has published new requirements for the import and sale of foam puzzle mats that emit formamide following a scientific report from the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labour (ANSES) earlier this month.

CPSC Adopts Testing Requirements for Phthalates in Children’s Toys and Child Care Articles. July 29, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 5-0 July 27, 2011, to approve new third party testing requirements for phthalates, through a notice of requirements, to ensure that children’s toys and child care articles meet the federal phthalates limits.


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