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Kenner, Tomy Locked in Court Battle Over Doll

May 31, 1985

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Kenner Products and Tomy Corp. are locked in a court battle over legless mermaid dolls sold by the two companies, with Kenner trying to obtain a court order to stop the sale of Tomy’s doll.

A lawyer for the Cincinnati-based Kenner argued Thursday in U.S. District Court that Tomy, headquartered in Carson, Calif., should be halted from selling its ″Sweet Sea″ doll because it looks too much like Kenner’s ″Sea Wees″ doll.

But Tomy lawyer Richard Evans disagreed, saying, ″Kenner didn’t invent mermaids, and the dolls look entirely different.″

Evans said Sea Wees is a finger doll, while Sweet Sea is a ″nurturing″ doll.

The Kenner doll costs $4 and is about 41/2 inches tall, while the Tomy doll costs $15 to $18 and is baby-sized, Evans said. Both dolls float, have flowing hair and scales - and smiles.

Judge Carl B. Rubin heard enough Thursday to scheduled two days of hearings in his Cincinnati courtroom next week, beginning Wednesday, to determine whether he should issue the preliminary injunction that Kenner is requesting to halt sales of Tomy’s doll.

Tomy plans to launch a multimillion-dollar national marketing campaign for its doll this year that could threaten the market for Kenner’s established doll, Kenner lawyer Donald Rose said.

″The danger is that it would get clobbered with the promotion,″ Rose said. ″The packaging and the logo and the doll are too closely alike.″

Kenner is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc.

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