A Weave Is Not A Toy: Toys R Us Opposes Hair Extension Company Trademark

from the annoyed-are-me dept

When we encounter stories of trademark bullying over broad language, it's fairly common to find that the fight is between a large corporate entity pushing around a much smaller one. This case is no different. For some reason, retail toy giant Toys R Us is apparently opposing the trademark registration of a small Miami-area hair extension company.

Hair Are Us, a popular hair extension business in midtown Miami, has drawn the attention of Toys R Us, one of the world’s largest retail toy chains. The parent company of Toys R Us, Geoffrey LLC, filed an opposition to Hair Are Us' trademark application. In the opposition, the company alleges Hair Are Us infringes on its established trademarks.
Geoffrey LLC apparently has a registered trademark on the "R Us" phrase and is suggesting that this trademark is in conflict with Hair Are Us. But, given both the business that Toys R Us is in and the very fame the company has for being in that business, it seems ridiculous to request that the Miami company's "Are Us" name is going to somehow confuse consumers into thinking the hair extension business was in any way affiliated with the toy retailer. And because trademark law includes provisions that companies must be competing within the same market in order for infringement to occur, it's difficult to see exactly why Toys R Us is pushing around a small hair extension business at all.

Of course, the usual excuses are trotted out when pressed on the question.
Toys R Us declined to comment for this story, but in court filings the company argued that Hair Are Us sounds too similar and could deceive the public into thinking it is connected to Toys R Us. The toy retailer also said allowing Hair Are Us to trademark would dilute its famous brand which has been in existence since 1960.

Trademark experts say Toys R Us has a legal duty to police its brand, but the growing hair company contends its name is different enough from Toys R Us and that the toy giant should back off.
The excuse that brands have to actively police their trademarks is always the excuse for these types of things, but, as in this case, that argument is often false. Brands must police actual infringing instances, not every instance of anything even close to similar uses. The difference is one that allows a small hair extension company to exist, as it represents no threat to a major toy retailer. It'd be nice to see a large company like Toys R Us acknowledge that, for once.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: hair extension, r us, toys, trademark, weave
Companies: hair are us, toys r us


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Ed, 20 Nov 2015 @ 2:14pm

    Fight Back

    Has anyone considered suing Toys R US for grammar violations?
    Think of the children...

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.