OREM An Orem company that boasted it had in stock a tiny remote-controlled helicopter for the holiday gift-giving season is now being sued for allegedly selling illegal knock-offs of the toy.
HobbyTron.com, the online retailer based in Orem, has been sued by Silverlit Toys Manufactory Ltd. for allegedly committing "commercial and intellectual piracy by importing, marketing, and selling ... counterfeit helicopters," according to the lawsuit filed Dec. 29 in San Francisco's Northern District of California court.
The hummingbird-size "Picoo Z" has been touted as one of the hottest products made by the Chinese-based company Silverlit. The toy is distributed to the U.S. and Canada by the company Spin Master, said Silverlit's attorney Vincent Chieffo.
HobbyTron.com denies any claims that they're selling unlicensed, counterfeit copies of the toy.
"We deny all allegations of wrongdoing made against us by Silverlit and Spin Master, and we believe that when all of the facts in this matter come to light, we are confident that we will be victorious," company executives wrote in a statement to the Desert Morning News.
"However, since this is an issue for the courts to unravel, our legal counsel has advised us to avoid any further statements regarding this situation at this time."
Chieffo said HobbyTron.com purchased some 10,000 helicopters from Silverlit for resale in November. The toy the "Picoo Z" was new for 2006.
Silverlit later became aware that some individuals had purchased what they thought was a "Picoo Z" but received an inferior product, Chieffo said.
The helicopters sold by HobbyTron.com on their Web site are called the "Picco Z," although some boxes have the label spelled with only one c the "Pico Z." Both of those names indicate a counterfeit product, Chieffo said.
Some of the first helicopters were sold in early 2006 in Hong Kong as "Picco Z" toys. However, none of those helicopters were sold to retailers in the United States, Chieffo said, and the official name was subsequently changed to the "Picoo Z."
"One of the problems in a case like this (is that) the people who knock these off are not really all that concerned with how well they work," Chieffo said. "It's our business that gets damaged, with people thinking they've gotten something we made."
A woman from Woodland Hills e-mailed the Deseret Morning News after purchasing a "Picco Z" from Genesis Scientific at 542 S. State in Orem, which has been serving as a brick-and-mortar place to buy HobbyTron.com products."I bought one, and it does fly, but a handle on the controller broke off the moment I touched it," she writes. "For $42, I expected better."
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