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Footzyrolls Sued By Tootsie Roll Industries
Vol. 870 
November 22, 2011

Alleging "willful, malicious and fraudulent" branding, candymaker Tootsie Roll Industries (TRI) has filed a trademark lawsuit against Miami-based Rollashoe, 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 Guide.

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 destroyed.

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