Roblox Claims Hong Kong Toy Company WowWee Group Scammed Avatars To Sell Dolls

Roblox Corp. accused WowWee Group Ltd. from copying his avatars from his Roblox platform to sell dolls and metaverse code, and filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit in California federal court.

Roblox Corp. accused WowWee Group Ltd. from copying his avatars from his Roblox platform to sell dolls and metaverse code, and filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit in California federal court.

Roblox said WowWee violated its terms of use and openly used the Roblox trademark to market its physical dolls as My Avastars, the US District Court complaint for the Northern District of California. WowWee also partnered with a Roblox developer to sell codes redeemable as metaverse visions of the infringing dolls for exclusive use on Roblox’s platform, it said.

The complaint against WowWee, a Hong Kong-based toy company that originated in Canada, represents a foray into the growing world of metaverse-born intellectual property rights. Roblox said it has registered a number of classic avatars as audiovisual works. Users of its platforms can further modify and customize their personal avatars.

Developers can create interactive content known as “experiences” — games, events, virtual places — on the Roblox platforms, the complaint said. That’s where users can deploy their avatars to represent themselves in the digital space. But Roblox says its terms prohibit using its intellectual property outside of its platform without its permission.

WowWee has admittedly copied Roblox’s wildly successful avatar designs to make and sell physical dolls called My Avastars, the complaint said. It quoted WowWee executive Sydney Wiseman saying she was “looking at the roblox adaptation” and realizing that “wow, that would be a great doll line.”

WowWee also pushed Roblox’s top developer, Gamefam, to market the dolls, the complaint said. It added that WowWee and Gamefam have also linked the dolls to a code that allows the buyer to use the avatar on the My Avastars role-playing experience of the Roblox platform, which Gamefam has developed.

Roblox further claimed that Wiseman created a Roblox account and violated the terms of service. In those terms, Roblox retains ownership of its classic avatars and modified derivatives, and prohibits the use of any Roblox intellectual property outside of the platform or for commercial purposes on it. Wiseman produced social media marketing for My Avastars dolls in TikTok videos using Roblox intellectual property, the complaint said.

The complaint also said WowWee used the Roblox trademark to market its dolls on social media and on its website, including the My Avstars TikTok account, using Roblox hashtags.

Roblox added that when some TikTok commentators expressed a belief that WowWee was stealing the Roblox brand and could be sued, an account from Wiseman replied with comments like “lol we work with top roblox developers :)”

Causes of Action: Copyright infringement, false advertising, trademark infringement, trade style infringement, false association and designation of origin, interference in contractual relationships, breach of contract, unfair competition.

Relief: injunction, declaratory damages, triple damages, profits, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Response: WowWee issued a statement calling the allegations “completely undeserved”. It claimed that Roblox changed its terms of service “at the expense of the creative community” a week after WowWee announced the creation of its MyAvastars dolls. WowWee said it has been trying to resolve the dispute in good faith ever since it received a cancellation letter and disconnected MyAvastars from Roblox. It accused Roblox of “using lawsuits as a growth strategy” and of “an organization driven by profit and power.”

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