What’s the difference between a Koala and a Croc? – IP lawsuit launched as global giants bare their teeth

News Article

Global toy retailer, Toys R Us, has long been renowned for its aggressive protection of its "R Us" trade mark. The Toys R Us mark, which was first used in 1957, has led to a multitude of legal actions, where companies have unsuccessfully tried to jump on the “R Us” bandwagon.

Over the years, the toy company’s lawyers have successfully seized the domain names of bestcreditcardsrus.info, insurancerus.info, personalinjurylawyersrus.com, homebusinessopportunityrus.com, tattoosrus.info, desklampsrus.com and many others.

However, the litigious retailer is now getting a taste of its own medicine, after shoe manufacturer, Crocs – famed for its colourful foam clogs – issued a lawsuit, accusing Toys R Us of selling knock off footwear.

According to the complaint, Toys R Us’ Koala Kids shoes infringe on Crocs’ patent, which centres on a single-piece shoe made of mouldable foam material and a pivoting strap section formed of the same material connected near the footwear’s back. The complaint also points out the similarities between the iconic Crocband design and the Koala Kids clogs, which both feature breathable holes in the top portion of the shoe.

Crocs first notified Toys R Us of the infringement back in October 2012 and in June this year again formally notified the retailer of its alleged patent infringement. Despite the letters, Toys R Us continues to sell the Koala Kids shoes on its website.

Crocs is now seeking a preliminary injunction against Toys R Us to halt sales of the allegedly infringing Koala Kids shoes, as well as damages for what it called "wilful and reckless actions in violation of Crocs’ intellectual property rights." Crocs is additionally seeking to recover all profits earned by Toys R Us stemming from the retailer’s alleged violations of its patent.

BJ Chong, a partner and intellectual property expert with Palmers, said: “Crocs has a reputation for taking legal action against IP infringement and has sued a number of high profile companies including Walgreens and Sketchers.

“Whilst the legal action between Toys R Us and Crocs rumbles on, it may be that on this occasion the toy retailer has bitten off more than it can chew.”

For information on Palmers’ commercial intellectual property services, please contact us.