China Toy Fair


TIF Distributes New Toys to More than 2,000 Kids on North Carolina Air Force Base

TIF/BGCAThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services distributed brand new toys to more than 2,000 children and families living on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. on December 2. During the base’s annual tree lighting ceremony, kids were treated to more than just entertainment and festive activities—they were also given a generous donation of toys, games, and stuffed animals.

With the holiday season just around the corner, TIF and BGCA are hopeful that the toys will ease the stresses and challenges children face with parents who are frequently deployed. This special donation was made possible through toy companies to TIF’s signature giving program, The Toy Bank.

This event was held as part of the TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program—the first national toy distribution initiative to serve dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad. The program has provided more than $3.8 million in toys for children and families over the four years it has been running.

TIF’s Toy Bank includes AbraKIDabra, Alex Toys, Barnes & Noble, Cardinal Industries, Cartamundi USA, Hohner, Inc., Green Toys, Innovation First, Lego Systems Inc., Mattel Inc., MindWare, Ohio Art, Patch Products, Safari Ltd., Wonder Forge, Wyla/Just Pretend Kids, and exhibitors at the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. For 10 years, The Toy Bank has provided toys to more than 11 million children in need worldwide.

COMMENTARY: It’s Alive! Cool Tech Brings Animal Toys to Life

Kids are always begging for pets, especially around the holidays. “Can I have a puppy?” “I want a pony!” I’m sure you’re hearing it all. But if you’re not ready to make that huge commitment to a pet and a messy house (and perhaps all of the dog-walking responsibilities), new technology that’s available is truly bringing animal toys to life.

Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole

Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole

The Hexbug line, from Innovation First, has used new tech to make robotic Hexbug critters that crawl on battery power. Two of the company’s newest lines expand upon this technology to make it even better. The Hexbug Nano V2 critters are gravity-defying bugs that can climb vertically through tubes. The Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole play set, the Nano V2 bugs can climb vertically, horizontally, and around corners. Kids can unleash their creativity by customizing the design and layout of the three-story set. The play set also comes with special accessories including a spiral tube and a black funnel.

The Hexbugs Aquabot line features robotic fish that really swim in water. The micro-robotic creatures have Smart Fish technology that allows it to swim, dive, and change directions. You don’t have to worry about feeding it or cleaning its tank. Aqua bots are available in five translucent colors and designed for kids ages 3 and up. [Read more...]

TCG Strengthens Sales Force with New Appointments

In a move to strengthen its Canadian sales force, TCG has promoted Laura Giger to vice president and appointed Moe Merali as sales director. Giger has nearly 20 years of experience as a senior-level consumer packaged goods sales executive, more than half of which have been at TCG. Prior to joining TCG in 2003, she held the positions of national account manager for Hasbro Canada and sales representative for Hugh McIvor Agencies. She will oversee all account relationships in the Canadian market.

Merali joins TCG with more than 10 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods and IT sectors. Prior to joining TCG, he served as sales director Canada at Innovation First International.

The Big Toy Book Hosts Biggest Day of Holiday Play

The Big Toy Book’s holiday toy showcase, the Biggest Day of Holiday Play, took place December 8 at the ultra-chic Yotel, hosting more than 100 bloggers and their children. Participants had the opportunity to visit eight cabin spaces sponsored by various toy companies, including Hasbro, The Bridge Direct, Innovation First, Delta Children’s Products, Poof-Slinky, Play Hut, among many others. Stations exhibiting the hottest holiday toys were set up throughout the Yotel lounge space. [Read more...]

Innovation First Launches Elite New Toy Force

The creator of the Hexbug brand of high-tech micro robotic creatures has unleashed the newest members of the Hexbug family: the rough and tough Hexbug Warriors Battling Robots. These futuristic fighters are tiny, collectible, micro robots that use the physics of vibration, similar to the famed patented Hexbug Nano, to propel forward and challenge competitors in the new customizable Hexbug Warriors Battle Arena and Hexbug Warriors Battle Stadiums.

Hexbug Warriors Battling Robots come in four colors – red, yellow, blue, and green – representing four dueling science academies from the year 2087: Viridia Prep, Tronikon Tech, Bionika Cyborg and Caldera Prep. Kids can outfit each warrior with strategic combinations of mechanical weapons and armor to outmaneuver their rivals and control the fate of their academy’s warrior fleet. Ultimately, only one Hexbug Warrior Battling Robot is left standing victorious on the Battle Arena or Stadium.

Hexbug Warriors Battling Robots are now available at retail stores nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Toys“R”Us, and RadioShack. In September, they will also be available in Canada and the United Kingdom, exclusively at Toys“R”Us stores. For more information on their fierce futuristic rivalry, visit www.hexbug.com/warriors.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Meet Hexapillar: Target’s Robotic Gift Card

Innovation First and Target teamed up to create the Hexapillar gift card. The newest addition to Target’s 2,000-plus gift card archive, the Hexapillar gift card is a robotic caterpillar that flies. The gift card/bug is a collaboration between the design teams at Target and Hexbug, which specializes in micro robotic creatures.

Derived from the Hexbug Nano—the  autonomous robotic critter that behaves like a real bug—the Hexapillar features a caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly. The gift card launched in stores last week and can be found in the stationery, toys, and electronics departments until the end of the year.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Hexbug Nanos Glow in the Dark

Innovation First’s new Hexbug offerings glow in the dark. Hexbug Nano is a 1.75-inch micro robotic bug that uses the physics of vibration to skitter along and explore its environment on smooth surfaces. Now it can come to life during the day or night.

The Hexbug Nano Glow-in-the-Dark Starter Set contains one extremely rare glow-in-the-dark mutation, two easy-to-connect curved pieces, and one easy-to-connect hexagon piece.

The Hexbug Nano Glow-in-the-Dark Spiral Starter Set features one [Read more...]

Update 2: Innovation First Responds to MGA Press Release

Innovation First CEO and President Tony Norman has responded to a press release by MGA Entertainment that was released earlier today. (To read the story, click here).

In his response, Norman countered MGA’s claims, stating “The intellectual property laws protect many different kinds of rights. The California lawsuit that MGA brought dealt with one set of rights, those that protect the outward appearance of a product. Our lawsuit deals with another set of rights, those that protect the engineering and design work that goes into making the product. Put simply, we haven’t accused them of copying our work in Art class; we’ve accused them of copying our work in Science.”

Update to Innovation First Lawsuit Against MGA

MGA Entertainment has responded to claims by Innovation First that allege MGA copied its Hexbug Nano line. In a press release, MGA stated that Innovation First has not served the company with a lawsuit. MGA is also stating that Innovation First admitted, as part of a sworn testimony last month to a federal judge in Los Angeles, that “the outward appearance of the current ‘Legend of Nara Battling Bugs’ toys from MGA . . . is substantially different from the outward appearance of the Hexbug Nano that the trade dress and copyright laws do not appear to be implicated.” MGA says that at the testimony Innovation First did not have any infringement claims against MGA’s Nara Bug. MGA is seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit.

MGA Sued for Allegedly Copying Innovation First’s Hexbug Nano

A lawsuit asserting claims for common law misappropriation and unjust enrichment was filed last week by Innovation First against MGA Entertainment, Inc. in the 354th Judicial District Court for Hunt County, Tex. The lawsuit accuses MGA of manufacturing, advertising, promoting, distributing, and/or selling products that were derived from innovative components of the Hexbug Nano micro robotic toy, created by Innovation First.

According to the lawsuit, MGA copied the Hexbug Nano’s motor assembly, components, housing, and legs, and is using them in the company’s Legend of Nara Battling Bug, in competition with Innovation First. The lawsuit seeks to recover any profits MGA has made or will make from the similar toy.