UK toy supplier spends big to stop counterfeits

HexBugA UK toy supplier has run up legal fees to stop the spread of counterfeits it fears cost it £25m ($40m) in lost sales last year.

The costly legal push by Wow! Stuff to stop 1000s of fake toys reaching the shops led to raids on warehouses in the UK and France. Writs against French companies including major shops Leclerc and Hyper U, plus court actions in other countries, pushed the legal bill up to £500,000.

"It is a very long winded process and it shouldn’t be," Richard North, founder and chief executive of Wow! Stuff told the Financial Times. North said innovators in the toy sector are "sometimes in despair" about illegal rip-offs of their products.

Wow! Stuff decided to fight back. Legal action led to a raid of a Paris-based firm where infringing stock, computer files and sales documents were seized. Action was also taken to stop a crate of counterfeit good reaching a UK-based online retailer.

The counterfeits likely originate in China. However, Wow! Stuff has decided it is easier to pursue suppliers and retailers in Europe than go after the Chinese rogue factories that produce fakes.

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