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Nabi Tablet-Maker, Fuhu Inc., Suing Toys R Us

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the at-least-there-aren't-patents-involved dept.

Android 38

Penurious Penguin writes "Fuhu Inc., maker of the $199 children-tailored Nabi tablet, is suing Toys R Us. The lawsuit arises after a legal agreement (ended in January) between Fuhu and Toys R Us went awry and Toys R Us released a similar product of their own, the $150 Tabeo. The dispute alleges that Toys R Us may have intended from inception to eventually abandon the Nabi for their own future variation, the Tabeo, presumably after gathering sufficient understanding of Fuhu's design concepts and business strategies. The ZDNet article quite thoroughly covering the story notes some of the formidable investors behind Fuhu, including Acer Inc., Kingston Digital, and Foxconn Digital Inc. Fuhu also sells through retail stores such as WalMart, Target, Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon.com.Another more-recent ZDNet article further analyzes the story."

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I blame Apple (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455505)

I'm an irrational Slashdot poster, so I'm just going to blame Apple now even though they have nothing to do with this.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455555)

As an irrational Slashdot reply-er, I say you're obviously a thick rimmed Apple loving hipster, even though I've never met you and you didn't actually say anything positive about apple.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455559)

I blame Apple for not getting a first post. Well, and you, I blame you also.

Re:I blame Apple (2)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#41455707)

I'm an irrational Slashdot poster, so I'm just going to blame Apple now even though they have nothing to do with this.

This proves that Apple is the new Microsoft. At least around these parts.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455805)

Apple is the new SCO.

Re:I blame Apple (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41455965)

I'm an irrational Slashdot poster, so I'm just going to blame Apple now even though they have nothing to do with this.

This proves that Apple is the new Microsoft. At least around these parts.

^
Confirmed by Netcraft

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41456155)

In terms of forcing people into proprietary solutions (which is one of the main grudges people 'around these parts' have against MS) Apple have always been worse. But only recently have they become large enough to have a significant impact on many people who work in the IT field. While previously they were seen as the underdog fighting "the man" (MS) now they are forcing their views on others, but unlike MS they do it as if theirs was the only true way, because that is what they actually believe.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41456217)

You seriously see a difference?

Each business wants their way to be the one true way.

Anything else is fanboy/anti-fanboy blinders.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41456463)

And how was Microsoft different ten or twenty years ago? There was dozens of file formats for images but yet the morons had to go and create their sub-standard BMP format, which is probably wasting a total of millions of terabytes world-wide even today, because they were too dumb to set RLE as default into their format.

Then, still proud of their stupidity, they went and created WAV and then WMV.

Re:I blame Apple (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41456389)

This proves that Apple is the new Microsoft. At least around these parts.

It also proves that stories about Apple around here cannot be taken at face value. Eyeball-bait.

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455987)

But Apple is actually somewhat at fault for creating a culture of suing for "stealing ideas", whereas before ideas/patents were mutually exchanged within the industry without excessively resorting to litigation. Ideas are dime a dozen, and designs such as in TFA or "rectangled tablets with rounded corners" have been floating around for ages and often enough already been realized in one form or another, just not successfully. And success depends hugely on implementation as well as marketing (the latter being the more important one, and the one Apple excels at).

These ideas shouldn't be patentable in the first place, yet Apple showed us how to utilize them in, unfortunately successfully, suing competitors which sets the precedent for other scumbags to try themselves at the same game.

They may yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41457469)

I can't help but notice that one of the icons on that screen is labeled "App Store".

Re:I blame Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41458073)

I BLAME BUSH!!

Design concepts and business strategies? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455601)

Um... make a rectangle, put a touchscreen on it, give it a big puffy case to protect against the numerous inevitable drops, then load it up with cheap apps full of microtransactions?

Will they be suing me as well, for divulging their design concepts and business strategy? Or suing Apple as well for already doing it?

Obligatory Apple potshot: isn't the ipad /already/ a device for kids since it won't run non-approved code?

Re:Design concepts and business strategies? (3, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41455697)

according to TFA, Toys R Us copied their butterfly-shaped case, not rectangle. See pic in TFA.

Re:Design concepts and business strategies? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 years ago | (#41456503)

Yes, the very unique feature, its not like every single Fluke multimeter has protector with exact same shape (probably same material too).

forget suing (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#41455623)

why not have a shoot out using toys of your choice!

Re:forget suing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41455709)

Hey foxconn have ownership of the suing company,It's on the Ars Technica story.

CAPTCHA:ABSENTS

Vertical integration (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 2 years ago | (#41455957)

I believe this is called backward Vertical Integration [wikipedia.org] . Nothing Nabi really can do about.

Re:Vertical integration (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 2 years ago | (#41457005)

Odd. This is what happened when Microsoft was hired to create an OS for IBM called OS/2. They developed it for a couple of years, learned what to put in and what to leave out, all on IBMs dime. Then shortly after they declined to work on OS/2 anymore they had a huge release of their new product, "Windows". Why IBM didn't smash little Billy Gates into the f*cking pavement, and fire his mother (who I heard was an IBM exec), I'll never understand.

Re:Vertical integration (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41457515)

Because you left out important details about the divorce between Microsoft and IBM over OS/2 and what would become WindowsNT. Was Microsoft nefarious? Mostly. Was IBM trying to be proprietary? Yup. Was there animosity? Big time. Back then, it was a clash of the titans. Microsoft won; IBM won.

If I was trying to recover my costs and found my trade secrets stolen, I'd do something about that. Microsoft had already invented an application called Windows that ran on top of DOS. That became an application that ran on top of DOS called versions Windows 2.0-ME. WindowsNT was to be a native OS, not an application, whose code bases were to merge at Windows 2000. They kinda did that. It was much uglier than that, but I'm trying to forget the pain.

Stupid names (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 years ago | (#41455981)

The names of the tablets, and companies involved, are lame. It's called "make up a clever word so that we have keyword exclusivity in search engines" but leaving out the "clever" part.

Re:Stupid names (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41456335)

Not a bad strategy in my opinion. All names are lame in one way or the other.

Re:Stupid names (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#41458579)

Not a bad strategy in my opinion. All names are lame in one way or the other.

'ThatsMyNick' being a case study on point.

'gmhowell' for extra lame credit.

Re:Stupid names (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41456437)

I think Nabi [wikipedia.org] = Butterfly (Korean), hence the shape of the tablet's case. I don't know what a tabeo is though.

it's a copy (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41456007)

But is it not legal? I don't know. It sounds like Toy R Us decided the $199 price point was too high and created a product that it sell for 25% less. We don't really know what happened before this. Did Toys R Us do something to keep sales down, or was there simply no demand for a $200 toy? Or was Toys R Us told that it was going to be sold online and they were going to lose the exclusivity. Selling exclusively through Toys R Us, a failing enterprise, does not seem the long term way to grow a company. I can imagine that small firm might be initially happy to get shelf space at such a large retailer, but quickly become anxious at the limitations.

If the products is faster better and provides a better experience, then there is not going to a huge advantage to a slower device that can be only found at Toys R US.

Nothing to see here (3, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about 2 years ago | (#41456063)

Ok; the Tabeo is shaped more-or-less like the Fuhu. But there are only so many ways to package an impact-friendly tablet... they use a similar one. I don't understand why Fuhu has their proverbial panties in a wad about the NDA. Once the design was publicly released, how does the NDA matter any more? One certainly didn't need access to Fuhu's internal design documents once it was sold on the open market for anyone to check out.

And "business strategies"? What exactly would those be?
1) Make a cheap tablet that looks like a toy.
2) Sell a bunch of them for more than they cost.
3) Profit!

And so what if TRU planned to abandon the Fuhu from day one? While this might give future suppliers second thoughts about "partnering" with TRU, and it certainly isn't very nice, I don't see how it's illegal. Certainly Microsoft has gotten away with doing this repeatedly... (and yet they can still find suckers willing to partner.)

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#41457687)

I think it is a question of bad faith, not on any particular technology.

You have 2 companies forming a partnership. This requires the exchange of some sensitive information. I will show you mine if you show me yours type of situation. Fuhu, being a smaller weaker company, had to expose more. After Toys R Us had a good look over it walked away and started its own line.

It kind of reminds me of Bob Kearns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kearns [wikipedia.org] . He is a small inventor and shops his invention, the intermittent windshield wiper to the auto companies. He, being small, has to show all of the details. The automakers decline – then a few years later start making their own.

While Kearns had a clear technology difference – I don’t Fuhu does – it does show the imbalance of power between small and large companies.

Re:Nothing to see here (2)

neonmonk (467567) | about 2 years ago | (#41458441)

The Bob Kearns story shows why patents are necessary. We just need them to be sensible. Maybe corporations shouldn't be allowed to possess them.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41457857)

If these guys have a case then Sega should go after Microsoft :p

Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41456161)

> The dispute alleges that Toys R Us may have intended from inception to eventually abandon the Nabi for their own future variation, the Tabeo, presumably after gathering sufficient understanding of Fuhu's design concepts and business strategies.

Did their agreement include a non-compete? No? I guess they are S.O.L. then.

I skimmed the linked articles... there's lots about what Toys R Us allegedly "promised" to do, but nothing about what they agreed to do... and less than nothing about contracts which included penalties for not doing them.

Why bother??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41456321)

My kid has Leapster Explorer and LeapPad (the iPad variant) of Leapster game console family, and i have to say you, there is no sane man, or kid, that would buy and play on any tablet in the near future. Do you know how you play games on LeapPad? By drawing the "A","B" buttons and tapping them. What a mess...
My kid hates it, and once i tried it, i hate it too.

So, i don't know why these guys bother with making tablet at all, and having all these patent issues now.

Re:Why bother??? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#41458733)

So, Leapfrog has a tablet with a horrible stylus-driven UI, therefore tablets are trash.

The Nabi, etc. use conventional touchscreens. It's pretty much a kid-proofed nexus 7.

Re:Leapfrog...horrible...therefore tablets...trash (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 2 years ago | (#41464659)

So, Leapfrog has a tablet with a horrible stylus-driven UI, therefore tablets are trash.

The Nabi, etc. use conventional touchscreens. It's pretty much a kid-proofed nexus 7.

Exactly. Kids have no problem using android or iphones to play well designed games that are actually fun to play.

Re:Why bother??? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41459441)

By drawing the "A","B" buttons and tapping them. What a mess...

Oh no, educational game is trying to teach kids how to write letters. What a mess!

Fuhu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41457793)

Toys 'R Us: No! Fu HU!

who invented it first? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41459425)

Sounds like they're both copying the Leap Frog LeapPad

New Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41461455)

Toys R Us to Fuhu: F U.

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