Elaut NV and its American subsidiary Elaut USA sued S&B Candy & Toy on June 27, 2016, alleging infringement of Elaut’s color-changing LED light system (U.S. patent #8,251,369). The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in N.J., also named S&B’s St. Louis Game Co. sales affiliate, and the Tommy Bear Co. which made the S&B machines in Taiwan.
A second lawsuit was filed by Elaut in the same court for “unfair competition” in the form of S&B’s ‘Lucky Ducky’ crane which Elaut alleges is a violation of its intellectual property rights in its ‘Plucky Ducky’ trademark used on their machines for over two years.
Said Elaut’s headman Eric Verstraeten: “Our company has invested millions in research and development as well as to protect our intellectual property with patents and by registering our trademarks in Europe and the U.S.” Echoed his U.S. CEO Glenn Kramer: “Our intellectual property rights must be respected. We are actively surveying the market for other infringements and will not hesitate to file additional suits to protect Elaut’s rights, if necessary.”
In a written statement to RePlay, S&B’s President Brian Riggles said: “S&B denies the allegations in the complaint.” He said S&B had produced a short run of the cranes in question a couple of years ago and advertised them in the trade magazines beginning in September 2014. Then, just days before that year’s November IAAPA show in Orlando, he said that Elaut contacted them, saying they were using lights similar to the LEDs described in their patent. “So, we stopped making and importing the cranes in question from the Tommy Bear factory in Taiwan after September 2014,” declared Riggles.
Added S&B’s Product Mgr. Marty Luepker: “Back then, I discussed the Tommy Bear cranes with Glenn Kramer and offered to buy the rights for the use of their LED design on future cranes. I was completely puzzled when we got notice of this lawsuit,” he stated. “Why are they focused on the past?” continued Riggles. “I personally talked with Glenn and really thought this was over. By the way, we only made a handful of the Lucky Ducky Derby machines and now have a dozen new crane designs ready to ship,” he added. “One of them, our Prize Express, was awarded an AMOA Innovator of the Year award.”
We wish the two companies an amicable resolution to this matter.