Tootsie Rolls and Cockroaches

Tootsie Roll is a candy and the subject of a trademark lawsuit and a funny personal story.  First the more serious trademark tale.  Tootsie Roll is, of course, a well-recognized trademark. Can the makers of Tootsie Roll prevent a footwear company from using the name Footzyrolls?

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What do you think?  Here is a picture of the products: 

The makers of Tootsie Rolls recently sued the company that makes Footzyrolls, footwear that can be rolled up.  Trademark infringement usually occurs when one party uses a trademark similar enough to another party’s mark that consumers confuse the two parties’ products or services. But can a case be made if the goods in question are very different, like candy and footwear?  Yes, if the mark being infringed is considered famous.  This is called trademark dilution.  For more information on trademark dilution, read this article.

Here is the personal Tootsie Roll story.  When I was about 14 years old our family took a vacation to Florida. One night on the trip we were hanging out in the hotel room. My parents had bought my younger sister and me a bag of the bite-size Tootsie Rolls. Like most siblings we had to make sure the bag was split exactly even.  One for her – one for me.  Two for her – two for me.  You get the point.  The division of the bag was completed successfully.

After I left with my portion of the goodies, my sister noticed something on the hotel room floor. A small brown object. She beamed with joy believing I had dropped one of my precious candies and that she could claim it as her own. She greedily picked it up and discovered it was not a Tootsie Roll at all; it was a dead cockroach!  She screamed. I laughed. Really hard. We still laugh about it now.

By the way, Roach Motel is a federally registered trademark for roach traps and not the high-quality hotel my parents selected.


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