PITTSBURGH, June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Pittsburgh technology start-up Digital Dream Labs is suing British toy company Primo Toys for marketing and selling an educational toy in the U.S. that uses Digital Dream Labs' patented technology.
Both companies produce toys designed to teach children how to program computers by arranging blocks on a game grid, which then controls the movement of a character. Digital Dream Labs has sold its game, Puzzlets, in the U.S. since April 2013, and holds a U.S. patent on its proprietary method. Primo Toys is a British company that makes Cubetto, a toy that uses the same system and method to teach programming. Primo is backed by major investor Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, and intends to begin shipping its product to the U.S. in fall 2016.
"We are not intimidated by the fact that Mark Zuckerberg's sister is the largest investor in Primo Toys, since the case will be tried in court and not on Facebook or other social media," said Jacob Hanchar, chief executive officer of Digital Dream Labs. "We began developing our proprietary technology back in 2012, and took the appropriate steps to protect our work by first filing for a patent in March 2013. Primo Toys not only failed to do basic patent research before marketing its product in the U.S., but also decided to move forward in the U.S. market even after we told them about our patent."
Carnegie Mellon University graduates Justin Sabo, Matt Stewart and Peter Kinney formed Digital Dream Labs in 2012. The company founders spent years perfecting their educational technology game, and worked with top-ranked start-up accelerator AlphaLabs to bring their product to market in January 2013.
Primo held a Kickstarter campaign in March 2016 to raise money to launch their product internationally. Worldwide backers, many of whom are in the U.S., pledged nearly $1.6 million to fund the company's next phase of growth.
"There's a risk with every Kickstarter campaign that the backers won't get the product they were promised," said Hanchar. "While we know that many investors in Kickstarter campaigns lose their entire investment, we are hopeful that those who have purchased Cubetto through Kickstarter will be protected in any settlement. Our ultimate goal is to provide educators with tools that engage their students as they learn, and we desire to work out a mutually beneficial deal with Primo to ensure that its infringement of our patent doesn't damage the people who support early computer science education."
About Digital Dream Labs
Digital Dream Labs aims to create toys that teach girls and boys basic skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through hands-on play that stokes their natural curiosity. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Penn., Digital Dream Labs was co-founded by Carnegie Mellon University graduates Matt Stewart, Peter Kinney and Justin Sabo. For more information on Digital Dream Labs and Puzzlets, visit www.DigitalDreamLabs.com or follow the company on Facebook or on Twitter, @DigitalDreamLab. While a for-profit company, Digital Dream Labs has a not-for-profit arm that is involved in a number of projects in which it participates at cost or on a pro bono basis, including with Carnegie-Mellon University, the Grable Foundation and the Moving Lives of Kids Mural Program.
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SOURCE Digital Dream Labs