We can't disclose full contest entries yet, but we can let you see a few of the letters of support we have received. Meanwhile, write letters to Geoffrey! Alert Dave Barry! Write the Attorney General! (Maybe we can get on TV when the BATF is sent in to wipe us out!)
All opinions expressed belong to their owners. Our opinions about a certain mongo toy chain and its corporate parent are hopefully apparent from these pages!
Remember, you must send the letters to TRU via us, or at least Cc: us, if you want to qualify for the contest!
Names will be added after the contest is over.
Some of these have been lightly edited purely for spelling, grammar, or strong language. My comments are emphasized just like this text - email you've sent is in quotes.
"Yes, it's ridiculous. Yes, it's true. They are going after everyone who uses anything like r-us in the name. A close friend of mine _was_ working at (one of?) the law firm(s) handling the trademark infringement issues. (I e-mailed him your URL!) Supposedly, they send their law clerks to research company names in phone books, etc., and any that they find anywhere are asked to change their name. This includes ALL industries, NOT just toys.
They have a right to protect their name (see below) but THIS is WAY out of hand. RRU cannot be considered a threat ito TRU in any way. I would never have seen your site if the lawsuit was not mentioned in a net magazine!"
"Your obnoxious actions regarding Roadkills-R-Us has forced me to boycott your store. I highly recommend that you tell your legal department to, ``get a clue''.
I have 7 nieces and nephews and I can assure you that I will not walk into one of your stores, ever! Further, I will encourage others to boycott your store becaues of the obvious bullying tactics of your legal department.
In case you still can't figure it out, Roadkills-R-Us (http://www.rru.com/rru/) is NOT a real company. Further, what is the content of the pages (including the name Roadkills-R-Us) is protected under the Constituion as Free Speech. Further, there are numerous cases showing that satire and parody (that's what Roadkills-R-Us is) is protected as Free Speech.
Perhaps your legal department can reread the Constitution. I would also suggest that they contact Intel (R) and ask them about what happened when they tried to ``blow off'' the Internet community. Ask them how many Pentium (R) processors they had to replace.
The only way I will even consider stopping my boycott is if Toys-R-Us, Inc. does the following:
1)Issues a formal apology
2)Places the apology on the Toys-R-Us home page for a period of at least 6 months
3)Places an ad in USA Today (R) with the apology
4)Gives Mr. O'Neal $1,000,000 (US Currency)
Thank you and good riddance."
I'd accept less, but probably not in Geoffrey Bucks.
"...one would expect companies in the big business to spend their time in useful things. It does seem that some corporate lawyers either a) got tired of playing solitaire (or whatever they do in their idle hours, which seem to be far too many, anyway); b) felt they should prove that their work _is_ worth something (and this must be a very hard case) or c) are having a bad time and need to pour it down on somebody.
I do hope that this turns back on themselves. In fact, I wish this stupidity spreads up through their whole staff; if all of the company deals with their jobs in this same way, in no time they'll be on the verge of bankrupcity.
Ah, yes, I support that Mac-truck-hitting-of-the-giraffe suggestion too.
Go get 'em."
"I have already sent them comments via their web page. I reminded them that 20 years ago, or so, they were the little guys, and beset by some bullying action groups that actually coerced some jurisdictions to pass legislation forbidding backwards letters in any public signs or logos. It was felt that the backwards R was damaging to the educational process of children. At that time, reasonable people came to their defense in light of such absurdity.
Hmmm, maybe that's not a bad idea. We could resurect that movement.
Of course I promised that in the future I would spend exactly zero dollars in TRU or any affiliated R-US businesses.
And that holds even if they back off. The only way I would reconsider is if they made a public, national media apology to you (halftime at the super bowl would probably be acceptable) and actively promoted your site from theirs.
I don't really care about any contests, but you can forward this to TRU as you see fit.
The idealist in me says you should keep the name and fight. The realist in me acknowledges that practicality may require that you knuckle under, sad as that will make us all.
It *would* be fun to stay home days and watch it on Court TV, tho. Maybe Target or Wal-mart would subsidize your defense. If they had a sense of humor, they'd sponsor you doing a Roadkill-MART page."
"You are in the right--don't let some big, faceless corporation hide behind the identity of a stuffed bit of felt fashioned to look like a giraffe. The only reason they're even trying is because everyone doing their dirty-work can hide behind a copyrighted name and convince themselves not to feel any guilt. 'I'm just following orders from higher up.' they probably say to themselves. It's a sick world we live in when people can call blatant wrong-doing and censorship "just a part of their job.
Dear Toys-R-Us(tm) Legal Department,
In a day and age of rampant litigation, one must question the wisdom of choosing to threaten a harmless, not-for-profit net-site such as Roadkill-R-Us. Your action only encourages this sort of dangerous, reactionary, leap-before-looking mentality in good, honest folks.
1.) Were you to carry through on your threat, it no doubt would receive media attention. This attention could be quite negative, and hurt your business. Perhaps you think sponsoring censorship is *good* business; I for one don't know what your opinion is on the matter. What I *do* know is that if you *do* believe such action will aid you in your efforts to make money, the mental/emotional health of your leadership should perhaps come under close scrutiny by professionals (and not the "professionals" you call a Legal Department, either).
2.) Were you to carry through on your threat, it would also further encourage our society's ideology of ``if you can't beat 'em, sue 'em.'' Once this is all over and the dust is cleared, whose to say you won't be sued by parents who worry that you're teaching their children improper grammar (look no further than your own corporations title for a prime example), or for backing the increase in violent ``play'' by children who can't help the fact that almost all the toys they can buy help breed antagonistic, destructive behavior? Sure, you're just selling those products, but why wouldn't some parent sue anyway? After all, it's been made clear by your own actions that just about anyone with a bee in their bonnet and a lawyer for a friend and/or employee can start a court case--even if they couldn't produce a legitimate reason to save their job.
It honestly sounds to me like the staff of the Legal Department have gotten pretty bored. I would even believe this started out as an office joke but then blossomed into some twisted bit of self-righteous folly. Surely no right-thinking person would have looked at the web pages of RRU and said to themselves, ``Now *there*'s somebody we need to sue.''
Although I have no children of my own (for whom I would refuse to by any products from your store), I do have friends and family. It will be my delight to inform them of your attitude towards freedom of expression and your desire to inhibit one person's own creative work (what sort of example does that set for the young minds whose money you want...).
All moral stances aside, unless you own a copyright on the acronym of "TRU," I don't really think you've got a legal leg on which to stand. Add to that the fact that satire is not legally considered copyright infringement (there is a legal precedent for this, although the precise case escapes me), and you're really in a sad spot. It's sad to see the brainpower of people obviously intelligent enough to complete a law degree being wasted on an effort like this."
Only an absolute moron would equate a web page named 'Roadkill 'R' Us' with Toys 'R' Us. And absolute morons don't generally operate computers. Also, is it really worth spending the money in litigation to teach this poor misguided soul a lesson? How many other times have we seen the 'R Us' affiliated with something other than Toys?
Perhaps you are spending way too much time taking yourselves seriously..."
One of their points is that they already own various other -R-Us trademarks. Of course, as we can see below, there are others they have hassled, but *not* made go away or pay them royalties. --Poor Misguided Soul
A refreshing change of pace, eh?
I fail to see why you choose to spend your money in legal battles over the name of a webserver. Recently I was in one of your stores. You would be much wiser to spend your money on merchandise and presentation. Many of your stores are obsolete and filthy. They are in dire need of renovation and your personnel could certainly be trained more. The sales associates I came in contact with were rude and unhelpful. The merchandise I was trying to locate could not be found and I was offered neither a raincheck or a substitution. Please take this into consideration when you are stewing over the fact that a web site is named Roadkills-R-Us. The name has nothing whatsoever to do with your company or Geoffery. It is simply a satirical web site where I can browse and laugh. Your absurdity in seeking legal action against this website has forced me to write this letter. I shall boycott your store and continue to inform everyone I know of my terrible experience while shopping in your store. One day, years from now, when you go out of business I shall laugh at the thought of your wasting money on frivilous legal battles over the name of a satirical web site. Recently I have found a store which carries just as good, if not a better, selection of toys than your chain. Apparently this store is the second largest seller of toys in the nation. It is a subsidiary of Dayton-Hudson corporation and is called Target. This is where my hard-earned money shall now be spent."
Not to suggest belligerence on your part, after all, I'm not the one getting letters from a legal department, but don't you have a university with a law school nearby that would be itching to take a first amendemnt case in the trendy world of computer communications? It seems such a pity that we have to quietly lie down and accept the corporate takeover of all public space, both real and virtual."
Like more then a few others here, I think its time to boycott TRU. K-Mart and Target (even though both of them are further away then TRU) will be getting my business this Christmas, and with two kids that actually means something."
I am sure Toys R Us will be pleased to know that this little negative PR stunt of theirs is getting some international recognition. I am composing this letter from Bermuda. Like residents of this country, I will be doing the majority of my Christmas shopping in the states. I can assure you I will not be patronizing Toys R Us. Their backward thinking lawyers have succeeded in making Toys R Us appear to be the big corporate heavy, trying to eradicate a non-corporate internet site dedicated to providing a little humor on the Net.
It looks like I'll be shopping at Wal-Mart this year.
Mr Lazarus, take a good look at what your lawyers are doing to your corporate image and act on it. And act on it quickly."
Decomposing bodies of Toys-R-US laywers and executives"
This leads me to believe that you have no understanding of toys or what constitutes entertainment. Obviously the spirit of youthful play is all but dead in your organization. Kind of sad for a company which bases its whole existence on that concept.
I hereby refuse to frequent your establishments and will encourage my friends to do the same until you retract your threats."
"Hey! You are just another sufferer on that highway of trademark roadkill where the bigun's get the littlun's. <8^)> Just look what happened to the old Auto Shack, now Auto Zone, and all the other cool names that were just a tad to close to one of the BIGUN's. I'm positive that you were planning to make tons of money by having a name sorta, kinda, like the giraffe guys (NOT!!!) and that's why they had to squish you on the trademark road. Oh well, even roadkill serves a purpose. TTFN and Rots o' Ruck!! ;))"
WE'VE JOINED THE BOYCOTT"
It strikes me that most of the letters are, in fact, form letters and not anything generated by a real person who is reading the replies. I cannot believe that anyone with even two brain cells could not see in the RRU responses that there is no such thing and that the Toys-R-Us[tm] name is not being infringed upon - poked fun at, yes, but not infringed! Perhaps they have no sense of humor.
I will do anything I can to boycott TRU throughout the holiday season and encourage others to do so as well. I say keep the Roadkills-R-Us name and let 'em sue!"
Let me make it clear that I do not think all lawyers deserve death. I actually know some wonderful lawyers who are also wonderful people. But we do seem to have an overabundance, and I'm sure we could export more to some underprivileged areas - Bosnia, for instance. Just a few. I get to name them. Guess where they work.
"Based on a very old joke about TRU being taken over by a minority group, and said joke not being p.c.(I can't repeat it), how about We Be Roadkills, Roadkills Be Us (the easiest route and not explicitly prohibited by Ms. Fowler), Roadkills Armadillo Us, or Trademarks Are Roadkills. Remember, the chicken crossed the road to show armadillos it could be done! Keep up the great work and good luck."
And you thought I was weird! (And rightly so.)
"Well, this is pathetic. I still consider myself a newbie and have yet to sight your webpages but the philosophy behind the move to censure you must be unconstitutional, surely. (we don't have a constitution in NZ - hence my lack of knowledge)
It reminds me of a time 2 years back when a tiny country store out the back of beyond renamed themselves Harrods for a bit of a laugh, and had the full weight of the real Harrods legal department come down on them. The response here was incredulous and the small town near the store gazetted a name change for one week to Harrods just to give them the pip. Apparently geographic names slipped through a loop-hole in trademark law.
Good luck guys, if you have been around longer than them maybe some royalty payments to you would be in order!"
are, R, and us seem like fairly common everyday words and it's a bit of a farce that a big stink can be made of it.
I'm sure you'll come up with a better, more colorful name anyway.
You are. I hope Santa brings you a Texas Speedbump (Armadillo) Throw Rug, coz yer so bad!
I used to think (being from Yukon Territory, Canada, where roadkill is a way of life and an accepted hunting method for some) that it was an American thing - Toys R. U.S. or something. It still doesn't make sense to me.
However, RRU makes perfect sense - satire is always more logical than reality.
Don't give up!
[Suggested names deleted.]
I'm too p-o'd about this to be creative at the moment! TRU obviously understands Roadkill - big entity squishes small one - but don't let 'em squish you dead!"
Hang in there guy. I'll divert Josiah's Christmas toy wish list to other stores. Unfortunately, I already bought the bicycle from Geoff."
"I think that it's pretty sad that the people that sell toys to kids will sue you over a stupid thing like that - i mean our school store has a name with the format __________-r-us but I'm not going to tell you the name of my school 'cause then I might get sued."
I replied that I didn't blame him, but would NOT pass on any names to TRU that they didn't already know about (such as cases below).
I am hereby calling for a World-wide boycott of all Companies tied to the tail of that Giraffe."
"This ToysRUs thing is the most absurd situation I have seen all year. I would send this to all the net magazines, and then proceed to ignore any further letters from them."
Have you demanded they provide proof they had planned their Web page before they contacted you? (hmmm...)"
If there is anything I can do to help, just holler!"
Now a days people are looking to sue anybody for whatever reason, no matter how stupid or trivial the situation, and all for the acquisition of power and money.
I say stick to your guns and let them make a fool of them- selves in a court of law, if there is any true justice left in this country of ours."
NOTE: Spatula City is not officially affiliated with RRU, though that would be fine! I think Stefan is doing an awesome job.
No, they cannot. They do appear to be after everyone with anything like `-R-Us' in their name, unless they license the name from Geoffrey, Inc, and pay Geoffrey some bucks!
[TRU vs RRU Page]
[Out of the Blue!] [An Incredulous Reply] [Lightning Strikes Twice]
[here] [A Slap to the Head] [They Think They Won] [Newer Responses]
Last updated: 25 October 2001