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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: RETAILING

Wal-Mart Settles Teletubbies Copyright Suit

May 20, 1999| Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pull a line of dolls called Bubbly Chubbies off the shelves to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the owner of television's popular "Teletubbies" characters. British-based Ragdoll Productions Ltd. and New York-based Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co., the exclusive marketer of Teletubbies in the Americas, said Wal-Mart, the leading U.S. retailer, will destroy its inventory of Bubbly Chubbies. The companies sued Wal-Mart in March for carrying items that allegedly copy Teletubbies characters. The four "extra-planetary" Teletubbies, with human-like facial features, have a TV screen in their bellies and an antenna-like protrusion on their heads. The lawsuit had charged Wal-Mart was selling the cheaper Bubbly Chubbies to piggyback on the success of the "Teletubbies" show, which is broadcast in about 120 countries in 21 languages. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart shares fell 75 cents to close at $45.69 on the New York Stock Exchange. Itsy Bitsy is a subsidiary of Troy, Mich.-based Handleman Co.

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