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Maker of Steve Jobs Action Figure Kills Project

Hong Kong firm In Icon says it was intended as an homage but will be abandoned after pressure from Apple lawyers and the Jobs family.

The maker of a controversial Steve Jobs action figure is stopping production and sale of the 12-inch doll following threats of legal action by Apple and Jobs' family.

"Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figurine out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family," Tandy Cheung, the Hong Kong businessman whose company, In Icon, created the doll, says in a statement.

In crafting the action figure, Cheung said, In Icon honored the copyrights and trademarks of Apple by not including any of its products or related brands with the Jobs likeness. "Unfortunately we have received immense pressure from the lawyers of Apple and Steve Jobs family," he notes.

He explains that he is a great admirer of Jobs and decided to produce the action figure as a tribute to him. "His passing left me with emptiness, sadness and a feeling of great personal loss," he says. "I am sure that these sentiments are felt by all of his fans. "  

"Four years ago, I created a single figurine of Steve which I placed on my desk next to my Mac. I decided to share this memento with the rest of his fans as a commemoration to Steve."

Cheung announced his intentions to start selling the Jobs figure earlier this month. Unlike other Jobs figures on the market, which caricature Apple's co-founder, the In Icon doll had a verisimilitude described by some as "creepy."

Soon after In Icon publicized its plans for the Jobs action figure, it began receiving letters from Apple's lawyers. Initially, Cheung took a hard stance toward Apple's litigation threats. He told ABC News in an interview: "Apple can do anything they like. I will not stop, we already started production."

If Apple had been forced to take Cheung to court, it's not clear what the outcome would have been. One possible ending, though, is that distribution of the doll could be blocked in some jurisdictions and not in others.

Meanwhile, likenesses of Jobs continue to be sold on eBay. For example, a Singapore seller is offering the head of a Jobs action figure for $31. Full figures of Apple's iconic leader cost much more, from $224.99 to as much as $2500.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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