TEDDY bear design sparked a legal battle between a Perth toy store and a United States retail giant -- a battle that eventually was settled out of court in November.
But details of the agreement have not been made public.
The Build-a-Bear Workshop based in St Louis, Missouri, had accused Richard and Roseleigh White of imitating its product designs and passing them off as their own.
The Mandurah couple run a retail outlet called the Bear Kids Workshop at Carousel shopping centre in Cannington.
Both companies trade in soft plush toys, particularly teddy bears.
The US corporation began as a small company in 1997 and over five years grew into a large-scale manufacturing and distribution company.
In September, it applied to the Federal Court in NSW to stop the Whites expanding their business to the east coast of Australia.
It claimed the resemblance with The Bear Kids Workshop threatened Build-a-Bear's plans to expand into the Australian retail market.
In court, lawyers for the Whites described the US claims as a "fantastical whim" and indicated the couple planned to open more stores in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
The case was moved to WA's Federal Court in October and the two sides went into mediation.
The Whites could not be contacted for comment yesterday and a lawyer for the US company did not return calls from The West Australian.
COMMENT: WHY WOULD U.S. FIRM WANT TO STOP TEDDY?
MEDICATIONS, WHEAT ALSO: Is this the brave new world planned by the US trade negotiator who is here in Australia, saying that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme of Medicare, and the AWB farmer-controlled wheat selling firm, give Australia too much bargaining power? (The West Australian, "America has wheat, medicine in sights," Thu Mar 20 03, p 36 )
Could it be that the Iraq war (started 20 Mar 2003) isn't the only war that some US people are involved in?
ANOTHER TAKEOVER METHOD: The federal authorities have failed to act to stop the food monopoly that is expanded by a shares takeover of Goodman Fielder by Burns Philp, which is presumably being financed to do this, the capitulation being announced around the week ending 22 March 2003.
HOW MANY TEDDY BEAR DESIGNS ARE THERE? Check the newsitem's third sentence. Then think! The "teddy bear" was named after Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt (U.S. president 1901-09), who is said to have spared or saved the life of a bear cub while hunting. (See Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition, L. Urdang (ed), 1968, Random House, New York, pp 1349 and 1146). With decades of various teddy bear designs so far, it would seem that most people could design a teddy without a pattern!
A SIMILAR TRICK WAS TRIED ON HENRY FORD! Yes, when the Ford Motor Company (founded 1903) successfully designed and mass-produced motor cars, a lawyer insisted on being paid royalties, claiming he owned the patent to the motor car! The law case lasted from 1903 to 1911, being lost by George B. Selden. But, the Frenchman Nicholas Joseph Cugnot had invented the first successful self-propelled automobile in 1770, Englishman Richard Trevithick carried passengers in his car in 1801, Frenchman Étienne Lenoir invented the first successful internal combustion engine 1860, and the various inventors and developers included more Frenchmen, a Dutchman, Germans Benz (1886) and Daimler (1895), and Americans the Duryea brothers and Haynes 1892, Winton 1896, and Henry Ford's experimental model, also 1896. In other words, Selden was trying to enforce a patent on an idea that was over a century old! (See Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1979, Funk & Wagnalls, New York, vol 3, pp 38-40) -- John Massam. COMMENT ENDS.
To oppose the ongoing pressure on, and replacement of, Australians by overseas corporations, contact StopMAI (WA) Coalition at 42 Central Avenue, Beaconsfield WA 6162, Australia, http://members.iinet.net.au/~jenks/CV.html
If you are pro-employee, contact the CPSU -- Community & Public Sector Union, Level 1, 445 Hay St, East Perth, WA, 6004, Australia. Tel 08 9220 0600
If pro-business, contact the SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, 80 Colin St, West Perth, WA, 6005, Australia. Tel 08 9322 2854