Footzyrolls Sued By Tootsie Roll Industries
November 22, 2011
Alleging "willful, malicious and fraudulent"
branding, candymaker Tootsie
Roll Industries (TRI) has filed a trademark lawsuit against
which markets and sells Footzyrolls (asi/54915) within the ad specialty
industry and through retail channels. The suit, which was filed in federal
court in Illinois, accuses Rollashoe of trademark infringement and the intentional
diluting of the Tootsie Roll brand. "Rollashoe's
activities compete unfairly and are likely to cause confusion, if they have not
already, with TRI and its previously
acquired and current marks," Tootsie Roll said in its complaint.
In response to the lawsuit, Footzyrolls
has called the allegations baseless, while attempting to draw a sharp
distinction between its ballet-like collapsible slippers and Tootsie Roll's
items. "Our product has nothing to do with candy," wrote Sarah Caplan, co-founder of Rollashoe,
in a statement to Counselor. "Our name is not the same and there is no
confusion between our products. This lawsuit is frivolous and we intend to use
all of our resources to fight these big business bullies. By the way, you can't
eat our shoes."
Attorneys representing TRI
did not respond to inquiries by Counselor for comment on the lawsuit. However,
according to the filing, TRI intends to
argue that its products are sold "to a similar class of consumers" as
Rollashoe's items, creating brand confusion.
Presently, Tootsie Roll licenses the use of its trademark for footwear, apparel
and certain accessories. TRI has tried in
the past to stop Rollashoe from registering the Footzyrolls name in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
TRI, which generated
revenues of more than $521 million in 2010, has been in business for 103 years.
Rollashoe, which expects its sales to climb to $3 million
by next year, was established in 2009. In its first year in business, the
company's Footzyrolls product quickly gained
popularity when it was listed in O: The Oprah Magazine's 2009 Holiday Gift
In seeking relief, TRI is
asking the court to order damages and to block Rollashoe's
use of the Footzyrolls name. TRI
is also asking that all brochures, catalogs, packaging and other promotional
and marketing materials bearing the Footzyrolls mark
be delivered to TRI so they can be