Zuru Toys, founded by Cambridge siblings Mat, Anna and Nick Mowbray, has been delivered a US$29 million ($42.8m) victory by a US court in its long-running patent-violation spat with US-based Telebrands.

Three years ago, Zuru alleged Telebrands - which makes products then sells them via infomercials - had ripped off its hit Bunch O Balloons product, which allows multiple balloons to be filled with water at once.

In December, Zuru won US$12.5m damages from Telebrands in a jury trial.

Now, in a decision filed March 27, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has granted Zuru's application for enhanced damages, bumping up the penalty to US$24.5m and awarding US$4.8m in costs.


The court had discretion to potentially triple the penalty with its review, given the jury found Telebrands infringing was "willful," but the Mowbray's were happy to get the damages doubled.

"This case has taken three years but is worth it all," Anna Mowbray said last night.

Zuru was committed to "continuously fighting what we believe are knock-off companies like Telebrands who try to undercut inventors and claim innovations as their own".

Zuru's Bunch O Balloons (left) and Telebrands' knock-offs. Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Zuru's Bunch O Balloons (left) and Telebrands' knock-offs. Source: US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

But Anna Mowbray also said it was "a start but we have to more go."

Zuru has two additional cases against Telebrands, involving the Balloon Bonanza and Easy Einsteins products, which it says are also copies of its products.

Last week, Zuru chief executive Nick Mowbray told the Herald his company was in a multi-front war with Telebrands. The pair had won three injunctions against the US copycat, but each time Telebrands released another slight variation.

Zuru took its case in conjunction with Tinnus, whose founder Josh Malone created Bunch O Balloons - which is protected by several patents - then licensed it to the Mowbrays.

"I saw it on Kickstarter then pursued him to license it, Nick Mowbray says.


Zuru already has a strong profile in the US, where its latest product, a twerking llama, recently appeared on the top-rating breakfast TV show.

But the case is set to raise its profile further, as Malone had an Amazon Prime Video crew in tow for a documentary on the long-running legal stoush called Invalidated, which has just been released.

The Mowbray's company is set to increase revenue from $500m to $600m this year, Nick Mowbray says.

"Dotcom Mansion" buyers Nick, Anna and Mat Mowbray in 2015. Photo / Supplied.

A full-on year has seen the sibling's business - which now employs more than 5500 people - push into consumer products and pre-fab housing, while Nick Mowbray battled painful, life-threatening Crohn's Disease. Read more in Nick Mowbray's Toy Story takes a new twist after health scare.