The site based in China claimed it had a deal on the priciest version: the limited-edition L.O.L Surprise! Big Surprise, a rose-gold case with 50 small toys, including dolls, miniature outfits, accessories and stickers. The price was only $79.99, a steal for the hard-to-find item, which sold on some third-party websites for multiple times its $69.99 list price.
But Marrow wasn’t buying a gift. She was ordering evidence.
What TomTop didn’t know was that it mailed the package to Marrow’s office at MGA Entertainment, the Van Nuys company that created, patented and trademarked L.O.L Surprise! dolls. Inside, Marrow found a product claiming to be a Big Surprise, but with clear indications it was counterfeit: The color was off, the label had mistakes and the materials were inferior, according to court records.
The real surprise would come later, when MGA filed a lawsuit in March in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, arguing that TomTop knowingly sold the bogus dolls to unsuspecting customers.
“Once a toy becomes hot, the Chinese counterfeiters focus on that, and they quickly knock it off and bring it to the market,” said MGA founder and Chief Executive Isaac Larian. “What I haven’t seen until now is how openly blatant they are about it.”