Tootsie Roll Suing Footzyrolls Over Trademark

from the sweet-feet? dept

Trademark is one of the few intellectual property laws left that I think generally serves its original purpose. For the uninitiated, trademark was originally created to avoid customer confusion over branding, thus keeping the buyer from deceit and harm at the vicious hands of fake goods. And, while trademarks can be abused, such as when Nintendo trademarked a phrase it didn’t coin for publicity purposes, their existence hovers on the border of benign.

Enter Tootsie Roll, the popular candy product that made a name for itself by being thrown at you in every holiday parade you ever attended. They’ve decided to take bold action against two ladies selling shoes, which they cleverly named Footzyrolls. Via CNN:

“According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Illinois, Rollashoe, which makes rollable ballet slippers called Footzyrolls, is infringing on the brand name of Chicago-based Tootsie Roll. Tootsie Roll, which made $521 million in sales last year, alleged that the $2 million Footzyrolls brand will confuse and “deceive” consumers into thinking that the shoes are associated with Tootsie Roll’s portfolio of products.”

Now, in fairness to Tootsie Roll, I can’t tell you how many times I went searching in my house for a tasty treat and ended up gnawing on my shoes. Wait…no, that was the dog, who I happen to have named “Moron In A Hurry”. Actually, I’m having trouble wondering how either of these companies is in each other’s industry stratosphere. Footzyrolls are ballet slippers and a quick perusal of the Tootsie Roll site offers nothing in the way of footwear. And really, who outside of the New York Jets coaching staff is going to think feet are a sweet treat to be munched upon?

In all, this smacks of a legal department with a tad too much time on its hands, particularly with Tootsie Roll requesting “damages” be paid by the startup footwear company. Rollashoe is fighting back, though the company’s lawyer notes the collateral damage:

“‘Tootsie Roll is flexing its muscle. This case could now proceed for another year. It will cost the Caplans a lot of money. It could kill their business,’ he said.”

And thank God for that, for what a pitiful sight it would make to walk down the street and see morons hurrying everywhere, chewing not on the chocolate goodness that is a Tootsie Roll, but on the soles of their sneakers instead.

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Companies: rollashoe, tootsie roll

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Comments on “Tootsie Roll Suing Footzyrolls Over Trademark”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Name from Tootsie Rolls, and I bet shoes from China...

But I couldn’t find the source, so it’s just a bet.

However, based on what I did find, I’ll root for Tootsie Rolls, as the name is just TOO similar, deliberately so.

Googling for Footzyrolls, click on the site took me to (because I don’t allow javascript):
And you people say that Google serves ME, huh? Nope, they’re trying to SELL me.

Anyway, SO I had to copy / paste:

Trying to find where they’re made look at FAQ:
About all I found was: “we recommend that you stay clear of sharp objects.”
Yeah. They’re just minimal pieces of plastic.

Back to main page, where I note that most are $35 and even ORDINARY looking flip-flops are TWENTY BUCKS a pair!

First thing to be done to start in business or lawyering is to get rid of your conscience. — Mike you should consider THAT to be your missing “Step2”, it’s THE crucial step.

(PS: yes, I see Mike didn’t write this. Or so the byline indicates.)

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Name from Tootsie Rolls, and I bet shoes from China...

Tootsie Rolls are candy.
Footzyrolls are shoes.

I don’t see the confusion.

Trademark laws evolve around the confusion consumers might have when buying a product. For instance if a label/name/colour(sadly) of some product closely resemble the label of another similar product. With the operative word being “SIMILAR”.
How are shoes similar to candy?
Unless Footzyrolls have indicated they want to start selling candy, Tootsie roll shouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

william (profile) says:

Okay, everyone googles everything these days right? (or maybe not) but here is my suggestion.

From now on, if you type into Google brand A, and Google didn’t tell you either
1) You type it wrong, maybe you meant brand B
2) Google Ad for Brand B didn’t show up as suggestion,
Then your claim for trademark and customer confusion will be automatically dismissed.

In this case, if you type in Footzyrolls in google search, and google didn’t say, “Showing results for Tootsie Roll. Search instead for Footzrolls” or the first 5 results didn’t show Tootsie roll or ads for Tootsie roll, case dismissed!

Reasoning is simple, if a search engine with an optimized algorithm and a gazillion of search precedences can’t associate those two together, then it means no one has ever made that association between the two. Thus you have no case.

Think of all the time and money we can save for the courts!

ChairmanH says:

As the CNN story cited in the post makes clear, Tootsie Roll is bringing a dilution claim (presumably in addition to a likelihood-of-confusion claim). Dilution claims require no showing of confusion . . . at all. I assume this fact was omitted so that the author could write a bunch of misguided jokes about confused people chewing on shoes.

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