Boxy Girl®, the female-founded lifestyle brand that includes home and beauty products, today filed a federal trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against a company that manufactures and sells Boxy Girls dolls at the nation’s largest and most prominent retail outlets.
Boxy LLC, a California company founded by Hannah Serimian, alleges that the maker of Boxy Girls dolls, Jay at Play, maliciously stole the company’s name and is “irreparably harming [Boxy Girl’s] brand reputation and goodwill” and has effectively “drowned out” the original Boxy Girl in internet search and social media.
Boxy Girl is seeking significant monetary damages.
The lawsuit targets Jay at Play and its corporate officers Joseph A. Sutton and Alan J. Sutton.
Jay at Play is a Hong Kong corporation, having a principal place of business in Boca Raton, Florida, and its parent company, Jay Franco & Sons, is based in New York City.
“It’s time for big companies with big legal budgets to stop bullying female entrepreneurs,” Serimian said. “We aren’t going to let Jay at Play rob of us our intellectual property, our years of hard work and our stellar brand reputation.”
Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP is representing Boxy Girl and Serimian in the lawsuit.
“As our complaint lays out in detail, Ms. Serimian filed to federally register the Boxy Girl trademarks early and worked tirelessly to build her business.
While trademark rights continue to evolve in the age of search engines, social media and e-commerce, the facts here will show that Jay at Play violated the law by taking and exploiting the name and marketing efforts of a female entrepreneur’s promising business.
We look forward to presenting our claim for damages in court,” said Greenberg Traurig Intellectual Property Shareholder Barry Horwitz.
Serimian, a native Californian, sought trademarks for Boxy Girl in 2011 and introduced the Boxy Girl lineup of products in 2015.
Three years later, Jay at Play launched a line of dolls called “Boxy Girls,” whose “brand, concept, doll names, Internet presence and marketing are highly similar if not identical to” Boxy Girl, the complaint alleges. “Defendant further adopted the Boxy Girl mark with home goods, towels, bedding and apparel so that consumers searching for Boxy’s products would instead find Jay Franco & Sons’ products.”
Serimian and Boxy Girl also allege that Boxy Girls dolls harm the Boxy Girl brand and image.
“Defendants’ “Boxy Girls” dolls offensively objectify young girls and women, and teach children that all they should aspire to do in life is shop online,” the complaint states.
The dolls “encourage young girls to be, and to become, mindless consumers and to avoid hobbies that would actually contribute to their self-worth, growth and development.”
In contrast, the original Boxy brand empowers women and focuses on gender equality, states the complaint.
After several requests by Boxy to stop using its intellectual property unlawfully, Jay at Play and the Suttons “intentionally and maliciously” introduced a new Boxy Girls doll named Hannah, Serimian and Boxy allege, causing further consumer confusion, and making it even more difficult for consumers to find Boxy Girl and its products online.
The complaint states that Jay at Play and the Suttons “have a sordid history of knocking off the business ideas and brand names created by female-founded businesses.”
The lawsuit cites two additional cases of small business owners who say their ideas were stolen and profited upon by Jay at Play. In both lawsuits, the business’ owners were female entrepreneurs.
“Through their immense resources and market power, as well as through industry contacts developed with that market power,” the complaint states,
“[Jay at Play and the Suttons] have taken the ideas, concepts and brand names credited and developed by women and their small companies, and brought to market either directly competing products that infringe patents owned by those women, or similar/related products sold under the same or highly similar brand names used by those women and their small companies.”
The complaint also notes that Boxy Girl often is inundated with angry calls from customers of Jay at Play.
“Many consumers who are unhappy with the Defendants’ products and customer service –problems that are well documented – associate that unpleasant experience with Boxy and its Boxy Girl brand.”
Jay at Play, the complaint states, currently has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau.
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