Chicago-based candymaker Tootsie Roll recently filed a lawsuit against Rollashoe, alleging the company's Footzyroll line of shoes infringes on Tootsie Roll's trademarks.
Two sisters, Jennifer and Sarah Caplan, founded Rollashoe in 2009, and that same year introduced the Footzyroll product, which is a ballet flat that can be rolled up to fit into a handbag. Footzyrolls are now sold at retailers such as Bloomingdale's and Fred Segal, and Rollashoe has annual revenues of about $2 million, CNN reported.
Rollashoe filed a trademark application for Footzyrolls in 2009, and in 2010 Tootsie Roll challenged the application, citing potential consumer confusion. Tootsie Roll argued shoppers might be misled into thinking Footzyrolls are associated with Tootsie Rolls, and according to CNN, the candymaker's legal complaint characterized Rollashoe's decision to name its product Footzyrolls as "willful, malicious and fraudulent."
The Caplan sisters issued a statement calling the Tootsie Roll suit a "frivolous" example of a large corporation bullying a smaller business owned by women. Sarah Caplan told CNN the lawsuit has prevented Rollashoe from growing as quickly as it could have, as thousands of dollars have been funneled to pay for legal fees.
In another shoe-related trademark case, a judge ruled in August that a trademark on red soles held by luxury shoemaker Christian Louboutin was "overly broad," opening the way for Louboutin rival Yves Saint-Laurent to sell shoes with red soles.