For most of us, a soft, roll-up slipper might is not likely to be confused with a famous candy bar brand. But the Footzyrolls made by Rollashoes have the makers of the Tootsie Roll worried. The more than 100-year-old Tootsie Roll Industries is concerned that consumers may perceive the roll-up slippers as an affiliated product, contends a federal lawsuit filed in Chicago. Tootsie Roll, in fact, makes socks as well as candy.
The suit, which was filed last month, is more likely to succeed in its claim of brand dilution than likelihood of confusion, since the product and packaging are different. However, Jennifer Caplan, one of the two women who founded the Footzy line in 2009, says the term was not intended to confuse but is simply descriptive of the soft, roll-up shoes that women can carry in a handbag for instant relief from high heels.
And consumers may be further confused by a Vermont folk artist who promotes local agriculture with the advice “eat more kale” on T-shirts and sweatshirts. Chick-fil-A is demanding that he stop using the phrase. Bo Muller-Moore says he has twice heard from Chick-fil-A, which holds the trademark to the phrase "eat mor chikin,” the Associated Press reports. The first time was five years ago. A pro bono lawyer intervened and Chick-fil-A stopped sending cease-and-desist letters. The second time was in October, and it followed Muller-Moore’s application for an “eat more kale” trademark.
Muller-Moore is being assisted in his legal fight by a Montpelier lawyer and the University of New Hampshire School of Law’s intellectual property clinic.