updated 06:14 pm EDT, Mon September 24, 2012
Lawsuit: TRU carried Nabi tablet only to steal company secrets
Fuhu, Inc, the manufacturer of the Nabi children's tablet, sued Toys R Us on Monday, claiming that the retailer appropriated trade secrets to facilitate developing its own Tabeo tablet. The lawsuit filed in San Diego is seeking a sales injunction to prevent Toys R Us from selling the tablet during the holiday season. Fuhu contends that Toys R Us contractually agreed to be the exclusive seller of the Nabi in 2011 solely to learn proprietary technologies prior to creating the Tabeo.
Fuhu has accused Toys R Us of breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition, and trade secret misappropriation. Additionally, the suit paperwork claims that Toys R Us agreed in October 2011 to be the exclusive distributor and did "virtually no promotion" and only ordered slightly more than what Toys R Us originally claimed to be able to sell in one day at retail.
"Toys R Us used 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," the lawsuit said. Fuhu is asking that any Tabeos be turned over the Fuhu, and is seeking monetary damages.
Electronista has spoken with Toys R Us regarding the suit, with a spokesperson calling the suit baseless. "If Fuhu thinks they can sue us for a 7-inch tablet design," he said, "they have a lot of other vendors they should go after first who had the same form factor before either of us did." The Toys R Us representative went on to say that the "butterfly" design used by Fuhu and claimed as infringing in the suit "is in use by many other vendors such as Fisher Price, and it is a tried and true protective design." Fuhu has not responded to Electronista's request for comment.