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Licensing News - July 2005

Partnership Supports Kid Inventors

7/28/05 - By Kids For Kids Company and Mattel signed a global marketing partnership agreement giving Mattel the right of first refusal for toy and game concepts invented by kid inventors represented by BKFK. Mattel also will be the exclusive presenting toy sponsor of the By Kids For Kids Xerox 2005 National Invention Competition and will sponsor the BKFK Brainstorm Challenge summer museum program. The competition will begin inviting submissions for toys, games, and sporting goods ideas in fall 2005.

The Brainstorm Challenge is a BKFK-created innovative thinking camp program running in more than 50 children's and science museums across the country this summer. This experiential, hands-on program invites kids to explore their creativity by constructing toys and games with a BKFK-provided curriculum.

Fisher-Price Birthday Sweepstakes

7/26/05 - Fisher-Price kicked off its 75th birthday July 18 with a 75-day sweepstakes that awards 75 $75 toy shopping sprees daily. Consumers can spend their winnings online or at participating retailers. One lucky family also will win the Grand Prize: a family trip for eight to New York City, where they will receive VIP seating at the 2005 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, stay in The Regency hotel, see the sights, and more. Consumers can log onto Fisher-Price and click on the tile featuring the 75th Birthday Sweeps or the 75th birthday logo.

Cargill Acquires License for Candles

7/26/05 - Food and farm products conglomerate Cargill Inc. has obtained the exclusive rights to market patented technology that allows candles to be made not from petroleum-based paraffin waxes but from wax derived from soybeans. Under its agreement with the Indiana Soybean Board, an Indianapolis-based agricultural industry group that promotes soybean uses, Minnetonka, Min.-based Cargill will market the technology through its NatureWax line of premium, vegetable-based waxes.

The deal gives Cargill the exclusive rights to market and distribute the candle technology. Since they are not made from petroleum, soybean-based candles are soot-free, biodegradable and nontoxic. They also burn cooler, allowing their fragrance to quickly scent the air, said Del Craig, western regional manager for Cargill's dressings, sauces & oils business. "Soybean-based candle wax technology has tremendous appeal for manufacturers, given its enhanced fragrance-holding ability, improved pouring characteristics and easy adaptability for use with existing candle manufacturers' equipment," said Craig, who is NatureWax's product manager.

The patented soybean candle technology is owned by the Indiana Soybean Board. It was developed through research at Purdue University initially sponsored by the soybean board and Candle Corp. of America, a division of Blyth Inc.

Department 56 to Buy Lenox

7/22/05 - Brown-Forman announced that it will sell substantially all of Lenox Inc. to Department 56 for $190 million. The transaction is expected to conclude in six to eight weeks. Brown-Forman will retain ownership of the Lenox headquarters property and building located in Lawrenceville, N.J., and Lenox's Brooks & Bentley subsidiary in the UK. Brown-Forman is continuing its strategic review of Brooks & Bentley in a separate process and plans to sell the Lawrenceville property.

The portion of the Lenox business being sold had sales of $465 million for the fiscal year ended April 30. Department 56, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., is a designer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of collectibles and giftware.

Raggedy Ann Celebrates 90th Birthday This Year

Russ Berrie & Company is licensed under Hasbro, Inc. to produce Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls, and has acquired the Applause name as well. There are two types of dolls being produced by Russ Berrie & Company. One type of dolls are for the mass market and will be produced under the Applause brand. Similar to the Hasbro dolls previously produced for the mass market. Another type of dolls are being produced for gift retailers under the RUSS brand. Similar to the Applause gift line of dolls previously produced.

The difference in the Applause vs. the Russ brand dolls: In general, the Applause Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls have embroidered eyes and are available to the mass market in 12" and 17" sizes. The Russ dolls have button eyes, embroidered "Raggedy Ann" on Ann's apron, embroidered "Raggedy Andy" on Andy's right leg (not on his hat) and finer detailing. The initial Russ dolls will be available in 6" bean bags, and 16" & 30" dolls, plus specialty 12" dolls (certificate dolls, wardrobe series, and gift sets).

Alessi Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Iconic Michael Graves' Kettle

7/19/05 - Italian manufacturer Alessi is celebrating the 20th anniversary of American architect and designer Michael Graves' kettle with the little red bird. The kettle, which sold 1.3 million pieces, is an icon of the 1980s. To commemorate this anniversary, Alessi has developed a limited edition of the kettle, along with special editions of other items from the "Graves Family" collection.

Alessi originally approached Graves to design a kettle with a few important specifications. It was key for the kettle to be able to hold a considerable amount of water near the flame, but also have a handle that stood far out from the heat source. "When I had found a solution to these needs, I was able to turn to the aesthetic side of the design," said Graves. "In other words, priority was given to the functional aspects of the kettle, whereas designing an interesting and attractive object was only a secondary consideration." His final design was playful, "delightfully kitschy," and featured a small red bird perched on top of the kettle's spout and a thick blue handle raised high from the kettle's base.

To celebrate the anniversary of the kettle, Alessi has developed a new version of the item. This numbered, special-edition features a stamp of the 1985-2005 anniversary along with a color-redesign that replaces the blue of the original with a dark red color. The kettle is packaged with two bird-shaped whistles, one transparent and one dark red. Other products from the "Graves Family" collection are also a part of this limited edition re-release.

Keepsake event celebrates debut of ornaments

7/15/03 - Christmas in July has become a time-honored tradition, with everyone from small local artists debuting holiday items at fairs to corporations launching items with fanfare. One of the highly anticipated events is the Hallmark Gold Crown Stores Ornament Premiere weekend. Daylong events will take place Saturday and Sunday at Hallmark Gold Crown stores, with more than 200 items being launched.

Exclusive items such as the limited 2005 Special Edition Rocking Horse ornament will be available only during the premiere. The Rocking Horse Series was started in 1981 and the line continued through holiday season 1996. The series was created by Linda Sickman. One of the original Keepsake Ornament artists, Sickman has created a collectible that complement other items from her Rocking Horse series. The reproduction of the original dappled horse Keepsake Ornament has been painted in distinctive colors and bears the words "Ornament Premiere" on the rocker.

Highlights of the 2005 collection include new Barbie items such as the club exclusive Barbie Designer Spotlight Ornament designed by Anita Marra Rogers; the Friends at Large, "Madagascar" ornament designed by Rudy Garcia; a Shrek and Princess Fiona ornament by artist Robert Chad and the Gold Crown exclusive Skylar A. Woolscarf, the first item in the Snowtop Lodge series created by artist Joanne Eschrich.

Special promotions during the event include the free gift of the Triple Dippin! Keepsake ornament. Keepsake Ornament Club members, including those who join during the event, will receive the item. The Triple Dippin! Keepsake Ornament features a scarf-wearing baby polar bear carrying a triple-dipped ice cream cone. The piece coordinates with the musical ornament I.C. Pete Frozen Treats that features a polar bear driving an ice cream truck. The Truck plays "Jingle Bells".

The festivities continue with the chance to win a Keepsake Ornament. Eight items will be given away, including two first in a series -- Poinsettia Fairy, the initial launch in the Fairy Messengers series, and Northern Cardinal, the first in the Beauty of Birds series.

Boyds Bears Teams up with Crayola

7/13/05 - The first Crayola licensed Boyds creations, slated to be available at retail during the 2005 Holiday Season, are a series of plush teddy bears with bright Crayola crayon-colored fur that will be packaged with themed coloring books and Crayola crayons. The play sets will be sold in gift boxes that feature the familiar Crayola yellow and green design that has been a world-wide symbol of creativity for more than 100 years.

While these initial products are very traditional, weighing on each brand's most venerable product, future plans include products that will compliment the Crayola brand's strength. "We are very excited about partnering with Crayola and being able to bring two brands that are so well respected by moms and so loved by kids together," says Jan Murley, Boyds C.E.O. "We are looking forward to reaching out to new market segments with products that will strengthen Boyds current channels as well as open exciting opportunities in a broader marketplace," Murley added. "Crayola crayons and teddy bears are two of the best known icons of childhood," says Rick Goralnick, manager, global licensing for the Crayola brand. "The new Boyds line of Crayola teddy bears draws on the heritage of our colorful products in a way that will excite collectors."

The addition of Crayola to the Boyds licensing program continues the company's strategy to align the popularity of Boyds Bears with other successful brands; which began with the mid-year 2004 introduction of the NASCAR licensed Boyds Racing Family, and continued with the recent announcement of licensing agreements with Coca-Cola and M&M'S.

7/12/05 - Lifetime Brands has completed its acquisition of The Pfaltzgraff Co. According to Lifetime's SEC filings, the company paid $34 million for the York, Pa.-based tabletop company, which generated roughly $148 million in revenue in 2004.The Westbury, N.Y.-based Lifetime, which markets and distributes kitchenware, cutlery, bakeware and cookware, and holds several high-profile licenses in those categories, acquired The Excel Group, a tabletop company, last year and is working on expanding its presence in the category. "One of the most recognizable companies in housewares, Pfaltzgraff adds an immediate and powerful presence to the tabletop category of business," said Jeffrey Siegel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lifetime Brands, in a statement.
Russ Berrie Signs New Deal for Good News Bears

7/11/05 - Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., will create The Good News Bears, Scripture-inspired gifts designed by artist Amy Wulfing and licensed exclusively by OTay! Inc. Wulfing's designs will be distributed through Russ' retail partners, as well as members of Christian Booksellers Association (CBA), which serves the Christian retail channel in more than 50 countries around the world. First products will be in stores in October.

New Entity Carries on Licensing Focus

7/11/05 - Quattro Media acquired J.A. Roth & Associates (run by Russell Binder and Jay Roth) and formed Quattro Consumer Products. The new entity will continue to focus on licensing, merchandising, and brand extension. Roth will focus exclusively on the acquisition of intellectual property for his manufacturing clients within the toy, apparel, electronics, and paper goods businesses, while Binder will continue to focus on the representation of intellectual property holders and licensors.

7/10/05 - Elini has reached an agreement with Paris Hilton for the creation of two new watch lines: The first will be in gold, platinum and diamonds and the second will be a more commercial line of watches. Elini Design has designed a series of watches and chronographs with diamond-studded cases and charms symbolizing good luck.
Bewitched Dolls

7/08/05 - Bewitched Dolls from Tonner Doll Company: The dolls were inspired by the characters and costuming from the Columbia Pictures Summer film, Bewitched, although the dolls are not actual likenesses of the actors playing the roles in the movie. The collection is expected to ship to retailers at the end of August. The collection consists of Samantha and Endora dolls and several outfits for each character. Samantha will be available as two dressed dolls - Samantha Bewitched and Samantha Magic and Matrimony (bride). Outfits for Samantha are Press Conference Isabel, Dinner Date and Dreamy Spell. Endora will be available as Classic Endora or Endora on the Set, her outfts are Mother of the Bride and Endora in Red.

Enesco's CFO Manley Resigns

7/08/05 - Enesco Group Inc. announced that its chief financial officer, Paula Manley, is resigning for health-related reasons. Ms. Manley's resignation comes less than three weeks after the giftware and home decor company announced a massive downsizing, including the elimination of the chief operating officer position.

Enesco has been struggling as the collectibles market has declined. In May, the company announced it was exiting its Precious Moments figurines business in order to reduce its reliance on collectibles.Precious Moments Inc., to whom Enesco was paying a $15 million annual licensing fee, assumed product development and marketing for the porcelain figurines on July 1. Enesco announced late last month that it would cut its US salary expenses by 12% through layoffs and attrition.
7/06/05 - Russ Berrie and Co. Inc. and Integrity Publishers, Inc., will partner on Babyfaith, a line of developmental toys, gifts, and nursery decor collections. The property was introduced in 2004 as a line of faith-based videos and books and is one of the leading lines within Integrity's Family division. Russ will expand the brand to plush toys, baby accessories, bibs, cribs, and mobiles, as well as nursery decor including frames and plaques for fall 2005.

Mrs. Grossman's Debuts Eric Carle Stickers

7/03/05 - Mrs. Grossman's Paper Company has introduced stickers featuring the artwork of children's book illustrator Eric Carle, author of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and other best-selling books. The Eric Carle stickers are available in 12 different sticker strips, each with four to five designs; as well as on three giant sticker sheets, filled with 10 to 12 different stickers. An Eric Carle "Sticker Keeper" and "Collector Books" are also available.

Leeza Gibbons Scrapbooking Workshop

7/03/05 - Mountaincow LLC, a producer of software and stationery, has partnered with television personality Leeza Gibbons to create new software for computer-assisted scrapbooking. The "Leeza Gibbons Scrapbooking Workshop" by Mountaincow will be available nationwide in September 2005. "The 'Scrapbooking Workshop' enables everyone to quickly and easily capture and share their family stories," says Gibbons, author of "Scrapbooking Traditions." Designed with input from experienced scrapbookers, the software offers new tools for creating patterned text and monograms, designing borders and patterns, and printing journals, titles and photos in batches to conserve paper.

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