The Net Tells That Giraffe's Lawyers "Pick Two"

These are the latest. If you haven't already seen them, don't forget to check out the earlier responses.

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 or call Geoffrey! Alert Mirriam Webster! Write Major Major! (Maybe we can get on TV when the PLO 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 on email, if you want to qualify for the contest!

Names will be added after the contest is over.

What You've Been Saying

Some of these have been lightly edited purely for spelling, grammar, or strong language. My comments are emphasized just like this text.

Added to page Dec. 9

I cannot believe the nerve of that company. This is a great story. Half of my life (in Manhattan) is spent as a freelancer for UPI (United Press International), among others. If you are at all interested in talking about the story, please email me."

I did, but looks like AP got there first through the local paper.

I was just on your page a while ago and raed that thing about Toys-R-Us and you. That [reeks]. Anyway, the reason I'm writing is to give my support. I don't exactly want any prizes or anything, but I do want to help. Toys-R-Us cannot make you do ANYTHING. If you received my other letter a little while ago, you will know that since you changed over 20 percent of the name under copyright, they can't touch you.

In an effort to help out, I made a page stating your case and giving a pretty big link to your page. And at the very beginning of my page I included a subtitle so it now reads:

"AREA 51:

And the "ARU" is a link to the page that summarizes your stuff.

... All I can say now is "Good Luck." I also asked my friends if they could alter their homepage names like I did to bring more and more attention to your problem....

Looks like you got the Giraffe by the horns. I'm joining your boycott and will let TRU(tm) know. In addition I will pass the word to friends, family, and foes to do likewise.
The nightmare story was hilarious. I was hoping for a link to check out the TRU homepage and ask them about the prices on what I hear is their lastest subdivision: nontraditional native meats. I suppose if you put a link to the TRU homepage, they would probably claim harrassment. I'll just have to check out one of those overworked search engines and do it myself.

To add to your ever growing list of "coulda-been-a-contenda" names, why not add Roadkill-R-US-asterisk. (Make sure that the R is reversed, so that they can see that not only is it satire, it's satire that cares about the details!)

The asterisk of course refers to the usual lawyerly B.S., including finance charges based on MSRP, all stated very softly and rapidly at the end of the commercial. I would recommend the 3 point type, just to cover the hearing-impaired.

Diagrams of this strategy can be provided for the legal department for TRU, since anything beyond elevator buttons is likely too obtuse for them. I considered emailing them to suggest they get a life; they would probably respond that they have that and many other traditional board games, all at competitive prices.

The lawyerly jargon about "theirs, or yours, sprouting wings" was pure gold.

Sic Semper Giraffus! ("Thus be it always to overpaid stuffed shirts")

Well, well, well. Another case of a large company with their fat head up their [exhaust pipe]. Perhaps next they'll be after [nevermind -thbbbt] 'R Us?
Subject: Nazis-R-Us

After seeing your article in the paper today I have change the title of my homepage and plan to encourage others to do likewise. Hang in there.


I guess that since the Intel/AMD war, the Microsoft legal procedings, and the O.J. trial, Toys R Us found that the best ways to get publicity is either murder or getting into the high tech lawsuit game. Seeing how murder would definatly be bad for business, and how well Intel and Microsoft are doing now, a lawsuit in the computer industry was the way to go. Why not attack the Net? Heck, the U.S. Government has already installed the thought that it is filled with pornography, terrorists, and child molesters. A web site would be easy pray and they get thier name on the front page of the business section. I think you should fight this (disclaimer: I am not responsible if you lose). According to the article in the paper, this is a hobby page. Therefore you are not a business, let alone a competitor. And what is this all about anyway, the way are is spelled R in the name with Us after it? Lets look at the differences:
  1. Roadkill and Toys-I don't see the connection.
  2. The R is writen backwards in Toys-R-Us, where in Roadkills-R-Us it is writen forwards. This brings up an interesting notion, if the letter R is written backwards then it is no longer a proper letter R in the English language and has therefore become a symbol.
  3. Us- A common pronoun stated in the dictionary as the objective case of we. Using this breakdown of the two names makes it pretty clear that no trademark infringement has been made. I don't think that the large toy company using a backwards capital R in thier name, therefore making it impossible to type with a common wordprocessor, can trademark the word Us. I think this proves you have more than enough legal standing to win the case.

    P.S. Publicity works both ways. I probably wouldn't have found this site if the URL wasn't printed in the paper with the article. I bet you get more hits this weekend than you ever had on any other.

    I cannot believe that Toys-R-Us is so clueless as to waste time on this.
    I was very disappointed to learn of your campaign to force the administrator of the Roadkills-R-Us Web site ( to change the name. I have pleasant memories of shopping experiences at Toys'R'Us, and I also have derived a great deal of amusement from the Roadkills'R'Us page (perhaps those of us who live in Texas are more easily entertained by dead thangs in the roadway ... nonetheless ...). Never at any slack-jawed, glassy-eyed Web- surfing moment did I imagine Roadkills'R'Us to be in any way related to your company or sanctioned by you. The content is not even toy-topical. An old adage asserts that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Please, please, reach down into the dark depths of your corporate soul and rediscover a little of your childlike innocence and sense of humor. It's nearly Christmas. Do you really want the shopping public to see you looking this petty?
    This is not the first time that this particular company has used legal threats to force a name change. Several years ago (about 3 or 4) they threatened a BBS sysop in Portland, Or. with legal action if he didn't change the name of his BBS from "Points-R-Us" to some other name.

    It is my belief that TRU goes overboard with their legal threats of alleged trademark violations. I find it hard to comprehend how "Roadkills", "Points" or any other word (not associated with toys) linked together with R-Us could be construed to have any connection with a toy seller. Evidently the TRU lawyers don't have enough work to keep them busy.

    I for one, have not shopped at, nor recommended shopping at a TRU store since the Portland BBS incident. In fact I rather tend to discourage anyone from shopping at TRU if asked.

    I just recently learned of your web site from another web site with which you are probably familiar, Roadkills-R-Us. I was completely floored by what I read up there. I would like to think that the situation is the result of simple confusion and as such, easily corrected with some informative discussion. But now I'm not so sure.

    After hearing the recent National Public Radio spot about your pursuit of the domain name, I started to wonder about the company behind the giraffe (I'm not sure if I should put a (tm) after giraffe, I'm certain your house counsel will advise me. ;-)

    As a father-to-be and a long time customer of your company, I would hate to see you continue this ridiculous legal crusade against a humorist. My generation is web-literate, has a large disposable income, and has families that I suspect comprise the bulk of your customer base. I really don't want to have to explain to my kids that we can't go to your store because you represent corporate belligerence towards free speech and humor.

    Call off your litigators before the financial community call this into the limelight. I cannot imagine any good PR from this, even if you were to successfully prosecute your case. You have a responsibility to your shareholders as well as your customers. I am certain that in the end, you will do the right thing.

    [Whack] Toys-R-Us! We distinctly learned in business law that they've tried the same [fertilizer] with other companies and each time it has gone to court the courts have used whether the R was backwards as the deciding factor. Basically, they've said that if the R isn't backwards it is not enough of a trademark infringment.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I am roadkill on the net...

    OK, I don't know what part of your contest this may quailify for but I'll tell you anyway- Today Prodigy put on their opening highlights page an icon to go to an article in it's web ezine Living Digital about, which I of course immediately checked out and where you were mentioned prominently, and that's how I found out about all this, in 2 clicks from the Prodigy main page. THIS IS A VERY GOOD THING! My letter will be off to TRU and I'm telling all my friends, and tonight when I finish my Christmas shopping I will actually go to the MALL instead of TRU. Good luck!
    Miles, Sounds like a bunch of RedTape [cow pies]. Keep on truckin anyway.
    This is the most hysterical and horrifying chain of events I've ever heard of!
    This is the most ridiculous lawsuit (okay, maybe not THE most ridiculous, but close) I have even heard of. If they want to get rid of some of those extra billions lying around, tell 'em to send it my way!

    You heard her, send it on! Much less painful than all that cyberscorn, eh?

    The naming contest should be for a new name for Toys'R'Us, not for your site. I've only been in a tru once in the last couple years and I was blown away by how there was literally a blue half and a pink half of the store with the toys sorted accordingly. They're a [epithets-r-us] anachronism.

    Perhaps that's the problem with their legal department as well - they think they're King George III.


    You may want to share any knowledge that you have of Internet courtesy with your pea-brained superiors. Many toy-buying people are watching the roadkill attack closely. I'll be shopping at Play Co. until this matter is resolved to my satisfaction.

    I think that the Toys 'R Us attack against Roadkills 'R Us is sheer harassment at its worst. I'll be boycotting TRU this Christmas and am encouraging my brother (who has three toy-aged-children) to boycott as well. This sort of harassment against innocent humor on the Internet is uncalled for.

    TRU: This is no longer the Industrial Age, and the corporate bullying tactics of that Age won't work as effectively in this new Information Age.

    You guy's have definitely got my vote!!! TRU obviously has giraffe droppings for brains.
    Now I regret ever shoping there.... I can't belive tru would even think that your web page could even, by the worlds dumbest person, be thought of in anyway as related to their store......UNBELIVABLE........ sounds like someone at tru main office has a bit too much time to kill and should spend more time in any one of their stores cleaning the mess up and marking their merchandise correctly....

    I will shop at only their competitors till they issue you an apology letter.......

    Letting you know that your battle with TRU was mentioned on Channel 4 news, WNBC TV New York. I went immediately to Infoseek and sought you out. I was really confused as to the difference between your site and a toy store, but I've figured it out. Keep up your good work.
    I am an artist who frequently does parody. I recently saw on court tv (12-03-95) two copyright lawyers discussing the copyright laws of the U.S.. There is a provision in U.S. copyright laws called: fair use. There is a section under fair use concerning parody. In essence, anyone who produces a parody of someone else's copyrighted work is exempt from copyright infringement. Also, a parody does not remove income from the person who holds the copyright. you are not competing with the copyright holder on the sale of thier products.

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