Beliefnet
HOUSTON (AP)--It's goodbye to the God Bless Texas Bear. The founder of HolyBears apologized this week for making chubby bean-bag bears that closely resemble Beanie Babies. HolyBears founder Robert LeClair also apologized for accusing the manufacturer of Beanie Babies of stopping the spread of the word of God when it filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against his company. Beanie Babies maker Ty Inc. said LeClair's remark made customers think the Oakbrook, Ill., company was against religion. Besides the God Bless Texas Bear, Houston-based HolyBears created bears named Solace, Forgiveness and God Bless Our Home as part of a 50-bear family of cuddly toys with Bible verses attached. Company officials fought the copyright infringement for more than a year, saying they weren't aware Ty had copyrights on Beanie Babies. "It was never Ty's intent or desire to stop the spread of God's word, and it was wrong to have said otherwise," LeClair said in a statement posted on the company's Web site. "We have asked for and have generously received Ty's forgiveness for our actions and our false statements about Ty's filing its lawsuit."LeClair wouldn't say if he must make any payments to Ty, which will allow HolyBears to sell its existing inventory of bears. A message seeking comment from Ty was not immediately returned.
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