Toys ‘R’ Us sues Houston toy store for alleged copyright infringement

Toys ‘R’ Us recently announced plans to hold a nationwide return to Macy’s stores across the United States this fall, including a pop-up offering at Memorial City Mall in Houston. Coinciding with this expansion, the once-dominant toy chain is suing Toyz – a local toy seller with three Houston-area locations and a Online Store-for trademark infringement, accusing the SME of having copied its logo, according to a report by ABC 13’s Miya Shay.

Toyz owner Farida Afzal opened the business in the Sharpstown Mall in 2003 after immigrating to Houston from Pakistan. His son Muhammad Afzal said toy stores co-existed in the mall until Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017. “We were right downstairs. Same mall. Same everything. You could see us downstairs, no one ever came to see us,” he told ABC 13.

When Toys ‘R’ Us finally left the mall, the Afzal family was allowed to move Toyz to the former Toys ‘R’ Us location. However, in 2021 the family received a cease and desist letter. ‘refrain from Toys ‘R’ Us alleging the store’s multicolored bubble font logo is too similar to its logo, according to ABC 13. Toys ‘R’ Us also allegedly accused the family of keeping old Toys ‘R’ decorations Us in the store, which the family denies. TRU Brands, the parent company of Toys ‘R’ Us, filed a lawsuit a few weeks later.

Toys ‘R’ Us is suing Toyz of Houston for copyright infringement, accusing the small company of copying its logo.

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Lema Barazi, a partner at law firm Lloyd & Mousilli representing the family, said her clients did not think the logos were similar and would not change their logo. “We have a huge global company trying to fight back and shut down a family store. By having questionable allegations that frankly don’t hold water,” Barazai told ABC 13.

A federal judge has stayed the case until mid-September and is asking attorneys representing Toys ‘R’ Us to provide a list of similar lawsuits it has filed around the world against other small toy stores, according to ABC 13.

In July, Macy’s announced a partnership with Toys ‘R’ Us to relaunch the once-popular chain in a pop-up style format at Macy’s stores across the United States through mid-October. The stores, which range between 1,000 and 10,000 square feet, are featured in eight flagship locations, including one inside Houston’s Memorial City Mall.

Toys ‘R’ Us previously attempted a comeback in 2019 when it restored its website and opened two physical stores in Houston and Paramus, NJ, according to the Washington Post. However, the reopening was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic and both sites eventually closed in January 2021.