Alpha Group’s recently launched Screechers Wild! media property has run into a snag. Canadian toy manufacturer Spin Master alleges the line has violated a number of its patents relating to its Bakugan franchise. Lawsuits have been filed in Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Spin Master is seeking injunctions against continued sales as well as claims for additional damages based upon ongoing sales, despite Spin Master putting Alpha Group on notice.
Screechers Wild! is a toyline, web shorts and an in-development TV series created by the US division of the Chinese company Alpha Group. The brand is a western adaptation of Alpha’s earlier Opti-Morphs media franchise, which first debuted in China in 2016. The franchise itself is a spinoff of an earlier Alpha property, known as Mechnimal. The new fiction crafted for western audiences was created in part by Man of Action, Wexworks Media and Atomic Cartoons. The toys are direct imports of their Chinese counterparts, featuring vehicles that transform when rolled into a metallic disk. Similar to Bakugan, the transformations are pulled off using a spring-based magnet activated mechanism.
“Spin Master actively monitors markets around the world and will continue to assert and protect its intellectual property rights where it believes those rights are encroached. We would like to thank our retailer partners in advance for respecting our intellectual property and doing the right thing for companies that invest in true innovation” stated Ben Gadbois, Spin Master’s Global President and COO. Added Ronnen Harary, Co-CEO of Spin Master, “Bakugan was a global toy phenomenon and we have taken, and continue to take, great care to protect our innovative transforming technology in major territories around the world. We have more patents filed, which will strengthen our Bakugan technology further. Spin Master expects its competitors to respect Spin Master’s intellectual property and will take all necessary steps to protect it, if it believes those rights are being infringed.”
Alpha Group has stated it does not comment on ongoing litigation.
The Bakugan franchise first launched in 2007 as a joint Canada-Japan production, with Spin Master, SEGA Toys, Nelvana, TMS Entertainment and Japan Vistec. A spinoff series launched exclusively in Japan in 2013 before the brand went on hiatus. A reboot of the franchise is currently in development, with former partners Nelvana and TMS Entertainment on board.
American toy giant Mattel recently launched the South Korean magnet activated spring loaded transforming Mecard property in the United States. Spin Master has yet to comment on it. The Canadian company previously patent infringement claims in China against GuangZhou Lingdong Creative Culture Technology Co. Ltd. over its line of transforming spheres called Eonster Hunter. Lingdong also distributes Mecard toys in China under the Magic Car (魔幻车神) brand.