Spin Master Files Suit Against Crayola

TORONTO (CP) -- A Canadian toymaking company is suing Crayola, alleging the U.S.-based crayon and marker maker has infringed on one of its trademark names.

Spin Master Ltd., a Toronto-based company that produces the Liv dolls and bills itself as North America's third-largest toy company, said in a brief statement Monday that it will "fight vigorously" to defend its trademarks.

"It's very important to avoid confusion in the marketplace," Spin Master spokesman Harold Chizick said in an interview.

Chizick said Crayola has a line it's planning to introduce that's also called "Liv," but he couldn't say if the product will be a doll.

"It's a name, it's a trademark," said Chizick, vice-president of global communications and promotions at Spin Master.

Chizick said the case is expected to be heard in California.

Crayola is a Pennsylvania-based subsidiary of Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo.

Spin Master's annual sales were expected to exceed than US$750 million annually and it has 750 employees around the world.

Spin Master launched the Liv doll, fashion dolls aimed at girls six to 10 years old, last year. Liv has a strong online component, aided by the company's decision three years ago to establish online studios for marketing.

Spin Master also launched Bakugan, Tech Deck, Air Hogs, Yo Gabba Gabba and Moon Sand, favourites among toy buyers and children.

The company has said it expects to launch 15 new products this year, the most in its history.

It is also working on several television shows at its Toronto studios and its own movie with Universal Studios based its Bakugan card game and action figures is set for theatres in 2011.

Spin Master's success in developing toys has given it the financial means to complete acquisitions to complement its core brands. However, it has said it has no plans to go public either to monetize the three founders' wealth or finance a giant takeover.