Rainbow Loom Maker Sues Rival Toymaker Over Patents
The risk of having a really brilliant, blockbuster idea is that somebody will want to copy it.
So it's no wonder that the creator of Rainbow Loom, the colorful bracelet-making kit that has become a national sensation, has filed a lawsuit against the makers of FunLoom, accusing the company of patent infringement.
Rainbow Loom creator Choon Ng filed a lawsuit last month against Steven Verona, the owner of the Miami Beach, Fla.-based company Zenacon which makes FunLoom, claiming that Rainbow Loom's trademark C-shaped fastener is being infringed upon.
Ng also claims Verona used Rainbow Loom's promotional photos to sell FunLoom. Causing particular offense, Ng says the photos included the hands and arms of his wife and daughters, according to the lawsuit.
“Zenacon and Steven Verona have willfully engaged in acts of unfair competition,” the lawsuit states, which “have caused, and if not restrained by this Court, will continue to cause Choon serious and irreparable injury for which it has no adequate remedy at law.” Ng demanded reparations to as best as is possible amend for the damages.
The invention of the loom is especially personal for Ng and his family. An engineer with a do-it-yourself attitude, Ng went through almost 30 iterations of what is essentially a board with stick pins to come up with the design for a loom and hook that can be used to make jewelry out of rubber bands.
Related link: Inventor of the Wildly Popular 'Rainbow Loom' Weaves the American Dream With Rubber Bands in a Detroit Basement
Ng worked hard to convince his wife to let him invest all of their $10,000 in savings in the initial production phase of the toy. Eventually, Ng quit his job as a Nissan crash-test engineer to devote all his energy into the production of the toy. As the popularity of the loom skyrocketed, Ng landed a spot on the Today Show. When craft chain Michaels started carrying the product, it sold 10 times better than the store's previous bestselling kid’s product.
Check out the nitty gritty of the legal battle in the 18-page lawsuit pasted below.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.