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Weekly E-news, Issue #285, October 7, 2008

Untitled DocumentTop newsForever 21 Vies for Crippled MervynsDiscounted fashion retailer Forever 21 has put in an undisclosed bid to buy 150 Mervyns stores, reports the Los Angeles Times. Forever 21, known for its cheap and trendy lines, got its st

April 6, 2018

28 Min Read

Top news
Forever 21 Vies for Crippled Mervyns
Discounted fashion retailer Forever 21 has put in an undisclosed bid to buy 150 Mervyns stores, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Forever 21, known for its cheap and trendy lines, got its start in Los Angeles in 1984 and has since grown to more than 400 locations in major malls nationwide. In 2000, it began opening a 24,000-square-foot flagship concept called XXI in Texas, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Canada.

Mervyns, the California and Southwest-based department store chain, filed for Chapter 11 this past summer. Headquartered in San Francisco, Mervyns has offered apparel and home furnishings since 1949. The company currently has 176 locations in seven states.

Rainbow Brite To Turn 25, New Doll Line for Holiday 2009
Hallmark Cards’ Rainbow Brite franchise has signed United Media as its exclusive merchandising licensing agent for the brand’s upcoming 25th anniversary program.

Already, Playmates Toys has joined to create a line of new fashion dolls, plush and role-play toys for holiday 2009. There are also plans for online content as well as the “Share A Rainbow” challenge to encourage girls to help create a better world.

The animated TV series Rainbow Brite debuted in 1984 and led to $1 billion in retail sales of dolls, toys and other licensed products.

Hallmark Cards and United Media also have agreements with brands, hoops&yoyo and Maxine.

Marvel’s Philips Promoted to President, Worldwide Consumer Products
Former president of Marvel International Simon Philips was promoted recently to president, worldwide consumer products.

Simon will be responsible for expanding Marvel’s global consumer products and is expected to develop the company’s direct-to-retail relationships while bolstering major retail partners. He also is charged with expansion of Marvel’s video game and wireless licensing businesses, as well as its themed entertainment park partners.

Philips joined Marvel in 2006 as Marvel Entertainment president. He managed the company’s international consumer products division, strengthening its worldwide licensing presence through feature film events and characters. Philips later took on animation and interactive entertainment licensing. Before Marvel, he was managing director at 4Kids Entertainment.

International Broadcast Roll Out for “The Mr Men Show”
Broadcast partners of Chorion’s “The Mr Men Show,” Cartoon Network U.S. and Five U.K., have committed to a second season of the animated sketch show. An additional 52x11 minutes are in production for broadcast in 2009, bringing the total number of episodes available to 104.

The first season of “The Mr Men Show” has just secured broadcast deals with YTV Canada, Mediacorp Singapore and KTV South Africa. The first season has begun airing on France 5, ABC Australia and HOP! Israel, with Tiji France scheduled before the end of the year.

Apparel, toy, publishing and DVD partners have been signed for the property. Master toy licensee Fisher-Price is set to launch toys in the U.K. and Australia this autumn with a range including collectible plush, playsets and feature plush. Global DVD partner Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will begin its international rollout starting in the U.K. and France for the fourth quarter of this year. A tie-in publishing program also has been arranged with Penguin Group (U.S.A.), Egmont (U.K.) and Hachette (France) to launch a range of books in 2009.

HIT Entertainment Gets Active Across Portfolio
HIT Entertainment has strengthened its strategic partnership with Chapman Entertainment, expanding its representation of “Roary the Racing Car” and “Fifi and the Flowertots” to include live events and attractions internationally. HIT will develop a range of live event and attraction formats including themed days out, live shows, non-ticketed events such as meet and greets and theme parks.

HIT currently represents Chapman’s preschool properties in the U.S., Canada and Japan for consumer products and television distribution. It recently secured broadcast and licensing partners for Fifi in the U.S. and Canada. Fifi made its U.S. debut on PBS KIDS Sprout in January, and “Roary the Racing Car” is set to premiere on the channel in October. 

HIT has renewed its U.K. home entertainment licensing deal with Australian children’s entertainers “The Wiggles.” HIT will retain all U.K. rights for new releases and the back catalog until 2010.

HIT’s publishing property Rainbow Magic has now sold more than 20 million chapter books globally. Introduced in the U.K. in 2003 and acquired by HIT Entertainment in March 2007, Rainbow Magic is a collection of more than 70 chapter books aimed primarily at girls ages 5 to 9 that follow the magical adventures of Kirsty and Rachel and their fairy friends. A publishing phenomenon, Rainbow Magic has sold 20 million copies in 30 territories and in 29 languages. 

Meanwhile, Thomas the Tank Engine is making its first-ever appearance on French terrestrial television after HIT signed a licensing deal with broadcaster France 5 for the first two CGI series of the show. HIT Entertainment has also appointed France Television Distribution as licensing agent for “Thomas & Friends” in the territory. A range of “Thomas & Friends” consumer products will launch in 2009.

GameStop Acquires French Game Retailer Micromania
GameStop ventures for the first time into France after acquiring Micromania’s 332 locations for $700 million.

“When the opportunity arose to purchase Micromania, and after meeting the executives who lead the company,” says R. Richard Fontaine, GameStop’s executive chairman, “we became convinced that expanding into Europe’s second-largest video game market with Micromania’s management team and GameStop’s diverse experience was a great combination for profitable growth,”

Micromania debuted in France in 1983 and has opened more than 130 stores in the last three years. Micromania’s president Pierre Cuilleret will remain on board as president directeur general.

With the new acquisition, GameStop will operate 5,889 stores worldwide. The transaction is subject to clearance by the European Commission and is expected to close next month.

Editor’s note
Upbeat and Busy—BLE 

Brand Licensing Europe closed its doors last Thursday evening following an upbeat and busy two-day show. The mood was a surprise to some exhibitors, and visitors, who thought the international banking crisis, retail trading difficulties and lack of consumer confidence would put a damper on the event. 

It seems that the opposite is true. Although official visitor figures are not yet available, numbers stood up well. And anecdotal comments from exhibitors point to an increase in both retail and European visitors.

Dealmakers and licensees were out in force—perhaps looking for bargain-basement properties. However, the demand for retro brands and evergreen kids' characters was notable. While the licensing industry is not immune from the economic cycle, anyone at last week's show would have seen some very spirited resistance.

Josephine Collins, European Editor

For complete coverage of BLE, please check out our show dailies on www.licensemag.com.

David Zaslav to Deliver Green Keynote at MIPCOM
David Zaslav, president and chief executive officer, Discovery Communications, will discuss Planet Green, Discovery’s global, cross-company initiative with a commitment to document, preserve and celebrate the planet at next week’s MIPCOM market in Cannes.

Planet Green’s platforms include a 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network, which launched in the U.S. in June 2008 with more than 250 hours of original programming, as well as eco-lifestyle Web sites TreeHugger.com and PlanetGreen.com.

Walmart Slashes Xmas Toy Prices First, KB Follows
This week Walmart got a jump-start on the upcoming holiday season, offering shoppers a price reduction on some of its popular toys in 3,500 of its stores. KB Toys has followed the retail giant’s lead.

After a Walmart-conducted study, The 2008 Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey, the company identified 10 popular toys and priced them each at $10. The toys include Barbie and her dog, Tanner; Barbie Mariposa; Play-Doh Ice Cream Shop; Assorted Littlest Pet Shop VIPs; Hot Wheels Trick Tracks; Hot Wheels Beast Bash; Fur Real Newborn Animals; Tonka Light and Sound Vehicles; Doll Stroller; and Bakugan by Spinmaster.

Walmart also is accepting preorders online for Elmo Live, which will be available in stores on Oct. 14.

In a similar effort, more than two hundred kid’s products at KB Toys, have been reduced to $10 or less for holiday shoppers.

Included in the price shift are Crafts Kits by Crayola for $7 each, select My Little Pony and Polly Pocket playsets for $5 each, NFL and MLB action figures for $5 each, select Fisher-Price preschool toys for $10 each, select Hot Wheels and Matchbox playsets for $10 each and select plush Beanies for $5 each.

The KB Toys’ temporary price cuts coincide with its Super Value Program, where every week consumers save on select toys and crafts, including video games at $9.98 and DVDs at two for $9.98.

The mall-based toy retailer also launched an Extreme Value! Lineup of 25 select lower-priced toys from Fisher-Price, Mattel, Hasbro, Disney and others.

H&M Sales Flat
International fashion retailer H&M has reported flat like-for-like sales for the first nine months of its financial year.

Group sales were SEK 62.2 billion (U.S. $8.9 billion), an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year, $55.5 billion (U.S. $7.9 billion). Profit after financial items for the first nine months was SEK 14.1 billion (U.S. $1.8 billion) for the same period last year, an increase of 9 percent. Sales in August increased 8 percent and in September increased 9 percent compared with the same period last year, but like-for-like sales for September were down 3 percent.

Marks & Spencer Reports Disappointing Q2 Figures as it Opens in China
Sales at Marks & Spencer Group for the 13 weeks to the end of September were up by just 0.4 percent with U.K. sales down 1.6 percent, comprising a reduction in general merchandise of -2.9 percent and in food of -0.5 percent.

U.K. like-for-likes reflected the poor trading market: Sales were down 6.1 percent; online sales were up 34 for the period, and international sales were up 24.2 percent.

The business is cutting expenditure to £700 million (U.S. $1.2 billion), down from a predicted £800 to £900 million (U.S. $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion).

Executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose, says: “Consumer confidence remains fragile and the retail environment unpredictable. Consumers are increasingly cautious about their budgets. We have responded by offering our customers better values and more promotions across the business, while at the same time tightly controlling our costs.”

M&S opened its first store in mainland China last week on West Nanjing Road, Shanghai. The 40,000 square foot store is Marks & Spencer’s largest in Asia.

Richard Sweet, managing director, Marks & Spencer China, says: “We see China as an exciting long-term opportunity, and the Shanghai store is our first step into a market that has real potential. China has a fast-growing economy, and around 30 percent of customers in some of our Hong Kong stores are from mainland China. They love our good quality, value products, so we believe there is a demand for M&S in China.”

Walmart to Debut December Scent Line, C-TRU by Estée Lauder
C-THRU, a new fragrance line for young women by Aramis and Designer Fragrances of Estée Lauder, will be available in a gift set only at Walmart stores nationwide in December.

The C-THUR fragrances are ruby, blue opal and purple diamond. The scent line includes 1.0-ounce ($17) and 2.5-ounce ($25) eau de toilette sprays. In January, the collection will be available at Kohl’s and Target retailers across the country.

The C-THRU brand has also aligned with Lady Dawn Russell as spokesperson. Russell was a former model for Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren who was diagnosed with stage III cancer at 25. Aramis and Designer Fragrances is a subsidiary of The Estée Lauder Companies.

Kohl’s Celebrates 1,000 Stores, 47 Open this Fall
Kohl’s Department Stores look forward to 47 new locations this fall, with the majority garnering the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

New first-time locations opened in Montana and in Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach). Of the stores, 46 opened Oct. 1 and the other to open in November. Kohl’s will be operating 1,004 stores by Thanksgiving. Forty-five of the stores have been pre-certified LEED by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The LEED designation recognizes performance in human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

In other Kohl’s news, this fall, the department stores are carrying four Curious George books and coordinating plush editions as part of its Kohl’s Cares for Kids program.

Books and coordinating plush retail for $5 each and include Curious George at the Aquarium, Curious George and the Firefighters, Curious George Feeds the Animals and Merry Christmas Curious George.

One-hundred percent of the net profits from sales of the books and plush will benefit children’s health and education initiatives nationwide.

NCircle and Taffy to Rollout DVD for New “Chloe’s Closet”
New children’s series, “Chloe’s Closet” will be released on DVD in North America through NCircle and Taffy Entertainment.

The recent add-on joins an agreement between the two companies, which includes another preschool series, “Dive Olly Dive!” made in June. “Dive Olly Dive!” is shown on PBS KIDS Sprout and Animania HD.

“Chloe’s Closet” is produced in 3D CGI and Flash animation by Mike Young Productions. The series is about a young imaginative girl named Chloe who plays dress up in her closet and is sent on magical adventures with her sidekick security blanket, Lovely Carrot.

The “Chloe’s Closet” DVD is expected to be available in either Fall 2009 or Spring 2010. Broadcast deals for the property have not yet been announced.

McCain and Obama to Appear on Nick News Oct. 12
Both 2008 U.S. presidential candidates are scheduled to appear on a Nickelodeon special “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Kids Pick the President” at 9 p.m. EST on Oct. 12.

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama will answer 10 questions each from kids across the country, ages 10 to 15.

After the broadcast, kids are encouraged to “vote” on www.nick.com/kpp. Results of the Nick poll will be announced on air at 8 p.m. EST on Oct. 20. Nickelodeon has held its Kids Pick the President campaign for the last six presidential elections.

Target Entertainment Group Gets Tied Up with “Emu”
Target Entertainment Group has signed the worldwide licensing rights to the new “Emu” live-action comedy series, which returned to CITV last year and stars Toby Hull, son of the late Rod Hull who was Emu’s original owner. 

Other categories are already in discussion.

Shelley Kerridge, head of licensing at Target Entertainment Group, says: “I, like many others, used to love watching ‘Emu’ as a child, and the new series for CITV has captured the next generation of fans. The team is looking forward to working on a brand that has both retro appeal for nostalgia products on the one hand, while opening up opportunities for fun ranges for kids on the other.”

U.S. Senate Passes Child Entertainment Protection Act
Initiatives to improve protection of kids who view television and play online were passed by the U.S. Senate this week.

The Child Safe Viewing Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to study new technologies in parental controls and rating systems for families and caregivers to protect their children from inappropriate content. The FCC is called upon to collect data from blocking methods on TVs, DVD players, VCRs, cable receivers and mobile handsets.

Entertainment One Buys DHX Media
Entertainment group Entertainment One has acquired children’s producer and distributors DHX Media for an agreed share and cash deal that values DHX at Canadian $68 million.

It is intended that the combined company will be listed on both AIM and the Toronto Stock Exchange. The deal is likely to be finalized in December. Entertainment One also owns U.K.-based Contender.

Rawhide Takes Marvel
Rawhide Accessories has won a licensing dealt with Marvel for a range of accessories for Wolverine, X-Men, Incredible Hulk Classic and the new Superhero Squad brands.

Product launch is set to coincide with the release next May of the X-Men Origins movie and includes themed luggage, backpacks, lunchboxes and belts.

The Marvel licenses are the latest addition to Yorkshire-based Rawhide’s expanding portfolio, which includes Pacha Collection, Chupa Chups, Playboy and Chilli Pepper.

Secret Wings Takes Off
Fitz Roy Media has teamed with U.K.-based Blonde Pilot, creator of Secret Wings, on a development deal for Secret Wings—the U.K. girls’ stationery and back-to-school brand.

Under the agreement, Fitz Roy Media will develop entertainment projects and interactive Web site content along with a worldwide licensing and merchandising campaign.
FRM and Blonde Pilot already are in development on an animated 4x11 series set for release on DVD in winter 2010. Two new Secret Wings chapter books are planned for release alongside the DVD title.

In addition, licensing agents have been appointed for Germany, Greece, the Middle East, Benelux, Korea, China, Taiwan and South East Asia, with agents soon to be announced for France, Spain/Portugal, Italy and Scandinavia.

Four multiterritory licensees have been signed including Time Concepts (watches, clocks, room décor, lights), Prosperity Industrial (beads, jewelry cases, craft sets), eNice (3D pen dolls, toy cosmetics, play sets, specialty items) and Sandylion (stickers, pads, pens, stationery items). Products will be introduced in Europe in mid-2009. The brand was introduced in 2005 by Brand Champions in the U.K.

“Secret Wings was an almost instant hit at retail in the U.K. and has proven its legs among a trendy and fickle demographic of young girls. We look forward to investing in the property’s universal appeal and anticipate long-term success for the brand,” says Fitz Roy Media chief executive officer Hamp Hampton.

Howard Davies, managing director of Blonde Pilot, says: “With the backing of Fitz Roy Media, combined with the proven success of Secret Wings at retail, we are confident this colorful and popular brand is set to fly even higher.”

Nickelodeon Adds Vending Machines in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Tomy Yujin Europe has signed with Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products for a two-year vending machine deal.

Tomy Yujin Europe looks to distribute licensed products from Nickelodeon shows in vending machines located in supermarkets, Toys “R” Us stores, beaches, theme parks, independent stores and kiosks across 36 territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Items that will be available include SpongeBob SquarePants dangler attachments for cell phones, keyrings, bags and belts. Blind purchase encapsulated Nickelodeon-branded toys, called Gacha Boxes, also are expected to launch in the vending machines within the coming months.

The agreement, announced at this week’s Brand Licensing Europe, also will include properties such as Avatar, Jimmy Neutron, Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! The Backyardigans and Blue’s Clues.

Wallace and Gromit Back Science Museum Initiative
Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit will be at the heart of a government-backed exhibition at London’s Science Museum designed to inspire a new generation of British innovators.

The exhibition, due to open in spring 2009, will tap into Wallace and Gromit’s flair for invention with interactive exhibits, creative activities and animated displays, all of which will be themed around the fictional characters’ house.

It also will have a serious side—one that encourages innovators young and old to protect their intellectual property to ensure they derive the maximum value from their ideas and to encourage a positive respect for the intellectual property of others.

Sean Clarke, head of Aardman Rights, says: “Over the past 12 months, we have been looking to develop the Wallace and Gromit brand in the area of science and innovation, gizmos and gadgets. Through live events and consumer products, this Wallace and Gromit experience will be a central platform to achieve this.”

CSI: The Experience Exhibit Travels to Europe
CBS Consumer Products plans to send its CSI: The Experience museum exhibit overseas through a deal with Vienna-based EMS Exhibits for the fourth quarter of this year.

CSI: The Experience was created by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History through a grant with The National Science Foundation for a U.S. tour. Exhibitors get to play the role of a crime scene investigator, which they learn scientific principles and investigative techniques through a mock crime scene. The demonstration also features a video introduction by cast members of the CBS show.

Other campaigns from CSI: The Experience’s international booking agent include National Geographic’s Tutankhamun and the World of Pharaohs exhibit, and produced shows, such as EMS’s own Leonardo Da Vinci: Man—Inventor—Genius, The Barbie Story and World of Games. 

“DittyDoodle Works” To Release Educational Product for Preschoolers
Public television series, “Sheira and Loli’s DittyDoodle Works” has expanded its concept into a new educational product, called DittyDoodle Works L.I.T.L.S. (Lessons in the Lyrics System).

The package features two double-episode DVDs, a CD of show songs and a 20-page activity book with reward certificates for parents to give to their kids. The product is expected to be available at the end of October through a toll-free number and on the DittyDoodle Works Web site, smartmusic4kids.com. It retails for $24.95, plus shipping and handling.

The live-action preschool show produced by Rogar Studios delivers educational messages via music. Since its debut in the U.S. in 2006, “Sheira and Loli’s DittyDoodle Works” reaches 30 million households and airs in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Tampa, Seattle and other major cities.

Thinkwell Pegged As Growing Private Company, Says Inc. Magazine
Events and attractions developer, Thinkwell Group was listed 14th on Inc. magazine’s annual top fastest-growing U.S. media company’s list.

This is the second time the company makes “The Inc. 5000” list, which also puts Thinkwell as one of the 100 fastest-growing companies in the greater-Los Angeles area.

Inc. magazine recognized us for demonstrating more than 331 percent growth in revenue between 2004 and 2007, yet one could argue that our last year alone tells a pretty impressive story,” says François Bergeron, Thinkwell founding principal and chief financial officer. “Since 2007, we have quadrupled our staff, opened a new office in Media City, Dubai, and launched a new business arm, Thinkwell Project Management, to meet the demands for our design and project implementation services worldwide.”

Thinkwell’s portfolio includes Harrah’s, Nike, the Atlanta Falcons, Universal Studios, MasterCard and Warner Bros.

Sainsbury’s Tu Gets Musical with EMI Lyrics
EMI Music Publishing and U.K. retailer Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing division signed a deal to feature song lyrics on a fashion range.

The new collection, including products for men, women and children, will feature words from EMI’s catalogue of more than 1.3 million songs, such as “My Girl,” “ABC,”the theme from The Monkees, “Wild Thing” and “Dancing In The Street.”

The expansion of its Tu Clothing range has turned Sainsbury into the U.K.’s 10th-largest clothing retailer by volume, with year-on-year growth of 40 percent in 2007. The range is now carried in 281 of the retailer’s 545 stores across.

The agreement marks the latest in a series of initiatives from EMI Music Publishing’s Lyric brand, with art posters, greeting cards and board games launched in recent years.

The deal was brokered by licensing agency Corporate Creative Licensing, in conjunction with EMI Music Publishing’s head of media licensing Steve Hills and Tu childrenswear buying manager John Carolan.

Carolan, says: “This partnership represents a massive opportunity in terms of increasing footfall and sales, and we’re looking forward to working with EMI Music Publishing to ensure that Sainsbury’s customers get to ‘try something new today’ for many years to come.”

Corporate Creative licensing head of licensing Michael Gottlieb, says: “I am thrilled to have helped bring together a leading British retailer with a leading British music publisher. Sainsbury’s customers will be able to wear inspirational clothing featuring some of the most famous words ever written.”

Corporate Creative Licensing has been signed to represent lyrics for Universal, EMI and Chrysalis Music. Negotiations with other music catalogues are under way. As a result, CCL has resigned representation of Sony/ATV.

Vespa and Adidas Originals Take a Ride
The Beanstalk Group client Vespa has signed collaboration with Adidas Originals for spring/summer 2009. The Adidas Originals Vespa Collection features men’s footwear and apparel that reflects decades of both brands’ heritage.

“The totally fresh Vespa collection introduces footwear and apparel that work across looks and lifestyles, offering classic and clean designs,” says Hermann Deininger, CMO Adidas Sport Style.

“Referencing the last 60 years and Adidas’ rich heritage, the Vespa collection offers pieces that take their inspiration from different decades and appeal to the preppy casual consumer who is looking for both historic and modern shapes,” he says. 

The Beanstalk Group managing director, international operations Ciarán Coyle says: “I am extremely thrilled at this ground-breaking partnership, which represents the first strategic step toward developing Vespa into a leading global lifestyle brand.”

Cary-Williams Gets Sassy with Scarlett & Crimson
British catwalk designer Robert Cary-Williams is designing a four-piece vest collection for Coolabi’s Scarlett & Crimson. The vests will include hidden motifs linked to a series of Scarlett & Crimson storybooks, which will launch in summer 2009.

Cary-Williams joins beauty industry names Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall working with Scarlett & Crimson.

Toys & Games
Nintendo Releases Wii Holiday Games and More
Plenty of new Nintendo products are expected for the Christmas season, including new games, a Wii console chat feature and the expansion of its North American Club Nintendo rewards program.

Leading up to Christmas, Nintendo plans to release the following new Wii games—Wii Music and Animal Crossing: City Folk. The company also plans to debut WiiWare, which allows players with Internet access to download a variety of games, such as Tetris Party, Strong Bad Episode 3, World of Goo, Cave Story and Boingz.

Nov. 16 will usher in the new Wii Speak Channel, a free download given to those who purchase the Wii Speak microphone ($29.99 each). Wii Speak allows gamers to chat and leave messages with others at no additional cost.

The Club Nintendo rewards program is set to debut this holiday season in North America. Through it, players can complete surveys and register for Nintendo products with loyalty coins that can be redeemed for items only available to Club Nintendo members.

Nintendo also has announced its 2009 game lineup, including a new Punch-Out and Sin & Punishment 2 for Wii, and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Mario & Luigi RPG3 for Nintendo DS. There also is a new ‘Personal Trainer’ series of titles in development.

Mattel Orders MGA to Stop Making Bratz
An injunction to prohibit MGA Entertainment’s production and sales of Bratz dolls was filed in federal court by Mattel on Sept. 29. The toy maker also has asked that MGA Entertainment not use the Bratz name and trademarks.

This new motion comes after MGA Entertainment, its chief executive officer Isaac Larian and its Hong Kong subsidiary were found liable in August for copyright infringement of the Bratz doll line. A jury unanimously awarded Mattel $100 million in damages from MGA and Larian for wrongdoing. The court is expected to make the final determination on the total amount of damages.

“Mattel owns the copyrights in the original drawings, prototypes and sculpts for the Bratz dolls,” says John Quinn, Mattel’s counsel, “and we are asking the judge to stop MGA’s further infringement of Mattel’s copyrights and finally put an end to its illegal conduct.”

Arguments for the injunction filing are scheduled to be heard, Nov. 10.

Game On for Game Group
International gaming retailer Game Group defied market trends and turned in-group like-for-like sales up 22 percent for the first half of the year, compared with the first half in 2007.

The U.K.-based retailer reported a record first-half profit of £36.4 million (U.S. $64.6 million) from group sales up 54.1 percent. International sales were up 64.2 percent, with international like-for-likes up 17.4 percent for the period.

Integration of Gamestation progressing better than anticipated, the business says, and the portfolio now has reached 1,300 stores following the acquisition of a specialist chain in the Czech Republic.

The store group reported that current trading remains good with a total sales increase of 14.6 percent and a like-for-like increase of 4.9 percent for the eight weeks ended Sept. 20.

CCL Teams Up with Trends and Redan to Launch ToddWorld Line
Corporate Creative Licensing has signed Trends U.K. to produce soft toys and puzzles for ToddWorld, while preschool magazine publisher Redan will include ToddWorld in preschool compilation title FTL Friends (ABC 86,435) and its sister title FTL Favourites.

DinerDash Game Seeks Branding Opportunities with ACT III
PlayFirst has chosen ACT III Licensing to expand upon the company’s casual game brand, DinerDash.

“With over 35 million online brand impressions a day, DinerDash already has a tremendous, active consumer base and built-in awareness, and it is primed for a wide range of game extensions featuring Flo and her friends,” says Aviva Rosenthal, partner at Act III Licensing. “It’s an entirely new licensing opportunity with a monumental pre-existing major fan base.”

Opportunities for licensing of the DinerDash brand are available in categories, such as electronic hand-held games, DVD games, toys, board games, novelty publishing, Vegas-style gaming and lottery scratches.

Alicom Licensing Brings Telescreen’s “Frog & Friends” to the Nordics
Telescreen, which is distributor, producer and licensor of “Frog & Friends,” has signed Alicom Licensing as agent for the Nordic territory covering Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Benelux and Nordic licensees include Rubinstein for audio books, Jumbo with the license for a table top game, De Kunst for an interactive DVD game (Benelux only), Identity Games for an outdoor play game and a hide and seek game to the market. The TV series has been sold in the Netherlands (KRO), Sweden (SVT), Norway (NRK) and Finland (YLE). The worldwide publishing rights have been acquired by Leopold Publishers.

Bestever and Kids Wish Network Create Pay It Forward Plush Program
Plush toy maker Bestever has teamed up with the Kids Wish Network for a new philanthropic program, Kidz Give Back.

California-based Bestever has created an exclusive plush toy line for Kidz Give Back, where with each purchase an identical toy is donated to a child in a hospital within the Kids Wish Network, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to sick children. Each purchased toy encourages the child to log on to kidzgiveback.com and register using a unique code found on the packaging, which notifies Bestever to donate.

The program is set to launch in January 2009. Kidz Give Back product will begin to ship in spring 2009.

Besides the donation registration, kidzgiveback.com features interactive activities based on the concept of paying it forward.

GB Eye Signs Smyths Exclusive
GB Eye has signed a deal with Ireland-based toy store Smyths to be exclusive supplier of posters to the chain. Smyths has 32 outlets across Ireland and the U.K., and plans to grow the U.K. business with an aggressive roll-out.

GB’s poster licenses include Ben 10, In The Night Garden, Thomas, Bob the Builder, Disney (all brands), Peppa, Roary, Mr Men & Little Miss, Dora and Spongebob. It is exclusive poster supplier to Tesco, Asda, Toys “R” Us, Borders, Morrisons and Woolworths.

Tesco Profits Up But Non Food Slows
U.K. supermarket chain Tesco has increased first half profits by 11.3 percent to £1.4 billion (U.S. $2.6 billion).

Increases in sales of non-food have slowed. Sales were up 4 percent in the first half of the year, compared with an increase of 8 percent reported for the second half on 2007. For the first time, Tesco has revealed figures for the U.S. Fresh & Easy operation, which now has 90 stores. The business made a loss of £60 million (U.S. $106.3 million) for the period.

Where’s Waldo Celebrates 21 Years, Lands Let’s Go Student Travel Guide
“Where’s Waldo,” celebrated 21 years on Sept. 21 and has partnered with student-created travel guide publisher Let’s Go for a global content and marketing deal, reports Entertainment Rights.

The Waldo character will be featured in a series of Let’s Go guides, including “Let’s Go Roadtripping USA: The Complete Coast-to-Coast Guide to America,” available in March 2009. His official Web site, www.FindWaldo.com also will include Waldo-themed tips, photos, travel itineraries, video content and more from Let’s Go.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Let’s Go has 49 titles across six continents, research and written by students. Some titles include “Let’s Go: Europe” and “Let’s Go: Buenos Aires.”

Tween Book “Zoë Lama” to Get TV Series
9 Story Entertainment has picked up TV rights to young adult book “The Invisible Rules of The Zoë Lama” to develop a live-action series.

The book, written by Canadian novelist Tish Cohen, is about seventh-grader, Zoë Costello, the school’s resident go-to girl who, while helping others, faces her own difficult truths and learns to appreciate what matters most.

“Tish Cohen is an enormous talent,” says Vince Commisso, 9 Story Entertainment chief executive officer. “The vibrant, genuine characters she creates in her literary work translate wonderfully to screen. The stories and situations are easily relatable to young viewers and their families.”

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Executive moves
Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids Entertainment International, is leaving the company. Reports of his sudden resignation emerged last week after the close of Brand Licensing Europe in London. Gould was unavailable for comment.

Steven Scebelo has joined Creative Properties as senior vice president, business development. Scebelo has been tagged to develop new partnership with licensees, retailers, media companies and creative talent. He most recently served as senior vice president for Gemstar-TV Guide where he led the company’s licensing efforts and was nominated for the 2005 LIMA Excellence Award for the Best Corporate Brand Licensee of the Year. Creative Properties is a full-service licensing company, which holds a portfolio of clients, such as Corduroy, Peanuts, MLB, Precious Moments and Flower Fairies.

RDF Media Group has appointed of Gavin Henderson as head of programmes for Presentable, RDF’s Cardiff-based production company. Henderson joins Presentable from Endemol where he was head of programs at Endemol West.

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