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 NATICK, Mass., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Direct To Retail, TV Products Inc. and The TopsyTail Company have joined in a campaign to challenge other firms they allege of infringing on the patent, trademark and tradedress of their highly successful TopsyTail(R) hairstyling tool.
 The campaign includes mailings to retailers as well as strongly worded print advertisements alerting retailers to the firms' intentions to "take aggressive legal action against infringers." The ads specify that the three companies will seek to hold all parties involved in an illegal act liable. This includes suppliers, sales representatives, distributors and retailers.
 "We support free enterprise," says Tomima Edmark, president of The TopsyTail Company and inventor of the TopsyTail(R) tool. "But in these instances, this is blatant infringing and palming off of our marketing efforts and intellectual property. As a result, we will fight these infringers to the fullest extent allowable by law."
 Already lawsuits have been filed in California, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania against three knock-off products being distributed by Lawrence & Company (Pony Twister), TeleBrands (Pony Flips) and TriStar (Glamour Tail). Additionally, legal action has been taken against retailers who have purchased an infringing product. Suppliers of product and retailers have been warned that they may have their records subpoenaed and may be deposed during the discovery period.
 "We've taken a harsh stance on this issue because infringers are damaging to the long-term life of a product," says Victor N. Grillo Sr., CEO of Direct To Retail. "They simply milk a season out of an item and then move on, killing the item or sometimes the entire category. This disrupts the retail market and causes customer confusion, unstable prices and tremendous difficulties for the retailers who are trying to manage their margins, inventory and advertising schedule."
 The three companies also warn that in many cases the imitation products are of poor quality because they are cheaply made and not tested. This leads to customer dissatisfaction and lost confidence in the store where the item was purchased. The retailer suffers additionally from large debit balances caused by returns.
 Direct To Retail is a privately held company that is the exclusive distributor of other successful consumer brands, such as Tripledge(R), Didiseven(R), Durashears(R), Ginsu 2000(R), Colorcote(TM) by Auri(R), Hydron Plus(TM), Easy Stripper(TM), Betterblocks(TM) and Anthony Robbins' "The Power To Succeed". The firm is based in Natick, Mass. and has offices in Boca Raton, Fla.
 TV Products Inc. is the direct response company based in Florham Park, N.J. which launched TopsyTail(R) on television. The TopsyTail Company is the Dallas-based company which owns the patents and registered trademarks for the TopsyTail hairstyling tool.
 -0- 6/10/93
 /CONTACT: Cathy Ryan of Direct To Retail, 508-655-0200/

CO: Direct To Retail; TV Products Inc.; The TopsyTail Company ST: Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey IN: REA HOU SU:

JB-AW -- FL004 -- 0528 06/10/93 10:22 EST
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 10, 1993

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