July 14, 2010
Top Trumps


Winfat to Manufacture Baby Genius ELAs

Pacific Entertainment Corporation is partnering with Winfat Industrial Co., Ltd. in a new licensing deal that will grant Winfat the rights to manufacture electronic learning aids (ELAs) for Pacific Entertainment’s Baby Genius brand. The ELAs will include bilingual preschool laptop computers and learning boards for distribution to mass-market and mid-tier retailers, e-commerce, specialty toy stores, and book stores throughout the U.S. The deal will run through 2013, and the first line of products is expected to be released next spring. The Joester Loria Group, exclusive licensing agency for Baby Genius, brokered the deal.

Zapak Games to Distribute Spin Master Toys in India

Spin Master has signed Zapak Games, the licensing and merchandising arm of Zapak Digital Entertainment, Ltd. as the exclusive distributor for many of the company’s brands in India. Spin Master toys in India will be released in phases. The first releases will be launched this month and will include brands such as Air Hogs, Bendaroos, GloDoodle, Liv Dolls, and Moon Sand.

NASCAR Forms Licensing Trust, Partners with Lionel

NASCARNASCAR has announced the official formation of the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust, an industry-operated organization composed of NASCAR and participating racing teams. The NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust will manage the intellectual property rights for the teams and NASCAR in categories including apparel, collectible die-cast, toys, and trackside retail, with more licensing categories to be added in the future. NASCAR and the teams will manage their own respective licensing rights in categories outside the Licensing Trust.
To kick off the new formation, the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust has partnered in a joint venture with Lionel Electric Trains to make and sell NASCAR replica die-cast racecars. Both the Licensing Trust and Lionel will actively manage and develop the business. Lionel plans to offer die-cast models representing all of the teams and the more than 30 NASCAR national series drivers who are participating in the Licensing Trust. Lionel will take over the category from Motorsports Authentics, which will instead focus on trackside retail and will be the exclusive die-cast car retailer at NASCAR tracks around the country.

EU Committee Advises Commission on New Safety Assessment for Plastic Toys

According to Plastic & Rubber Weekly (PWR), the European Union’s (EU) Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks has advised the European Commission that safety assessments of plastic toys should consider overall risk and take account of their likely uses, rather than just focus on the toxicity of substances in the products. The advisory was issued following a request from the commission for guidance on the toys safety directive.
Under current law, the presence of CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic) substances is limited and can only exceed individual concentration limits in toy parts that are not accessible to children, or if it has a positive opinion by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, an EU committee. According to PWR, members of the Committee on Health and Environmental Risks are asking for “a risk-based approach [that]… considers different contact scenarios, oral exposure through mouthing and ingestion of the matrix, dermal exposure through direct contact, and inhalation of compounds released in the vapor form and indirectly through dust.”  

Teletubbies to Be Made into Beanie Babies

TeletubbiesTinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po will soon hit store shelves in the form of Beanie Babies as a part of a new partnership between BBC Worldwide and Ty. The deal will transform the Teletubbies characters into six-inch Beanie Babies, which will be available in the UK and Ireland this fall/winter.
Teletubbies was created by Ragdoll Productions for the BBC, and has aired in more than 120 countries. The brand has sold more than 33 million DVDs and videos and 50 million plush toys.

Report: July Import Cargo Expected to Increase by 16 Percent

According to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase by 16 percent this month compared to July last year. Despite the increase, the report states that it’s likely that double-digit increases will taper off this fall “as retailers cautiously manage their inventories.”
The report also states that U.S. ports handled 1.25 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in May, which is the latest month for which actual numbers are available. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent. May’s numbers were up 10 percent from April and 20 percent from May 2009. May was also the sixth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year declines.
Although actual numbers are not yet available, June was estimated at 1.24 million TEU, a 22 percent increase over last year; July is forecast at 1.29 million TEU, up 16 percent from last year; August at 1.26 million TEU, up 9 percent; September at 1.29 million TEU, up 13 percent; October at 1.24 million TEU, up 4 percent; and November at 1.13 million TEU, up 3 percent. The first half of 2010 is forecast to total 6.8 million TEU, up 15 percent from the same period last year.

The Elf on the Shelf Picks Peanuts Worldwide as Merchandise Licensing Agent

The Elf on the ShelfPeanuts Worldwide has been appointed the merchandise licensing agent for The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Tradition brand. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition tells the story of magical scout elves who are sent to children’s homes to watch children and report to Santa if a child has been naughty or nice. After each elf has returned from reporting at the North Pole, he or she can be found hiding in a different location. The activity transforms The Elf on the Shelf into a hide-and-seek game. Each Tradition-in-a-Box comes with a scout elf, a hardbound children’s book, and a keepsake box for easy storage. Peanuts Worldwide will develop a global licensing program for children ages 0-8 years, which will initially focus on social expression, ornaments, stationery, holiday décor, gifts, interactive, confection, apparel, and accessories.

Artist Eilers’ Paintings Featured on New Ceaco Puzzles

Eilers PuzzleCeaco has secured an exclusive license to produce jigsaw puzzles using paintings by Ellen Eilers, a 93-year-old country artist from Alexandria, Minn. Eilers creates her artwork at her kitchen table, painting for eight to 10 hours everyday by using household materials like drinking straws and toothpicks. Her inspiration is “simple country living.”
Ceaco is offering three different 550-piece puzzles featuring Eilers’ paintings. The puzzle series, titled Life in Calico Country, is available now.



Fox Consumer Products UK Signs Glee Partners

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products UK has announced the first partnerships for its Glee licensing program. Fox Consumer Products has partnered with Konami Digital Entertainment for a new Nintendo Wii game, Karaoke Revolution Glee. In the video game, players sing alongside their favorite Glee characters and perform memorable scenes from season one.
Other new partners include GB Eye for a Glee-inspired range of postcards, posters, badges, and tattoo lines; Danila for calendars and diaries; Pyramid International for college stationery and bags; UK Greetings, Ltd. for a range of innovative greetings cards, gift wrap, and gift bags; Headline Publishing Group for a series of Glee novels and an official Glee annual; as well as new partners for mobile and computer accessories, gifts, health and beauty, bedding, confectionery, and apparel.

Care Bears Partners with Malaysia Airlines for In-Flight Books

American Greetings Properties is teaming up with Malaysia Airlines for a one-year Care Bears promotion. On every international flight, each child ages 2-3 years old will receive a Care Bears hardcover book, provided by Paragon Premiums in Malaysia.
Care Bears re-launched in 2002 and has generated more than $2.6 billion in global sales.

Madame Alexander

LIMA Elects New Members to Board, Exec Committee

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) has elected five new members to its board of directors and three current board members to new executive committee positions. The new directors’ terms will run through June 30, 2013.
The new members of the board of directors include Peter Boder, founder and CEO of United Labels AG; Liz Kalodner, EVP and general manager at CBS Consumer Products; Bettina Koeckler, SVP Licensing, EMEA at Chorion; Charles Schnaid, senior partner, Head Royalty Compliance Group at Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co., LLP; and Kotaro Sunamori, president, SUN R&P Co., Ltd.
Maura Regan, vice president and general manager, Global Consumer Products at Sesame Workshop was elected to vice chairperson on the LIMA executive committee. Christina Miller, SVP, Cartoon Network Enterprises moves from vice chairperson to chairperson. Stu Seltzer, partner, Marketing on Demand, LLC was elected to executive committee liaison to the board of directors.
Gregory J. Battersby remains LIMA’s general counsel.

Equitoy Appoints New Chairman

Equitoy, formerly known as the British Toy Importer’s Association (BTIA), has appointed Jonathan Holland as the new chairman. Holland, of Holland Publishing PLC, will serve as the chairman for two years. Equitoy, an association of member companies involved in the importation and distribution of toys and related products, is gearing up for upcoming changes in the new EU Toy Safety Directive, to be implemented next summer. Equitoy is seeking to increase its marketing efforts to reach a wider audience and launch a new website this August.

Possible Restructuring Talks for Oriental Trading

According to the Wall Street Journal, Oriental Trading is in discussions with its lenders to restructure its debt. The company, owned by Carlyle Group, received additional waivers and amendments to its first-lien credit agreement. Its current waiver and amendment expires August 18. Oriental Trading failed to pay a second-lien debt, due on May 31, within the grace period.

Target Announces Five -Week Financial Results

Target Corporation has reported its financial results for the five weeks ended July 3, 2010 Net retail sales were $5.918 billion, an increase of 4 percent from $5.690 billion for the five weeks ended July 4, 2009. June comparable store sales increased 1.7 percent. Quarter-to-date retail sales were $10.540 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2009. Year-to-date retail sales were $25.698 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent from 2009.

Disney to Pay $269M in Damages to Millionaire Creator After Federal Trial

Last week, a federal jury awarded British-based Celador International, Ltd. $269.4 million in damages after unanimously finding that Disney subsidiaries ABC Television, Buena Vista Television, and Valleycrest Productions, Ltd., had breached their contract with the company to share profits from the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
The lawsuit (Celador International, Ltd. v. Walt Disney Co.) was filed in 2004 after The Walt Disney Co. reported that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, created by Celador, never made a profit and generated more than $70 million in losses for the company, although the game show took ABC from No. 4 to No. 1 in network rankings. Celador licensed rights to the game show to ABC Television and Buena Vista Television as part of a deal in which Celador would get 50 percent of the profits from the show.
The nine-member jury, after deliberating for two and a half days, found that the defendants breached the implied “covenant of good faith and fair dealing” they owed to Celador.

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