The market for soft and plush toys has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with many companies vying for a piece of the lucrative market. Two such companies, Squishmallows and Skoosherz, have found themselves embroiled in a dispute over copyright issues.
Squishmallows, made by Jazwares, has been accused by Skoosherz, made by Build-A-Bear Workshop, of being too similar to their own egg-shaped cushion animal characters. Despite the cuddly nature of the toys, the conflict has escalated into a hard-nosed legal battle.
Jazwares has filed an intellectual property lawsuit in California, alleging that Skoosherz is a “knockoff” of Squishmallows. They point to similarities in the shapes of the toys, design, and fabric used as evidence of this claim. Jazwares claims that Build-A-Bear Workshop has intentionally copied the distinct look and feel of Squishmallows to capitalize on its global success blatantly.
On the other hand, Build-A-Bear Workshop has filed a lawsuit of its own in Missouri, aiming to establish that their Skoosherz is simply their own version of a type of toy that has been popular in recent years. They argue that there are many other companies selling similar products and that they should not be held responsible for any alleged copyright infringement.
Originally, Squishmallows were available in a small range of animals which became increasingly popular during the pandemic. The toys also gained viral popularity on TikTok and are now available in more than 1000 different versions. However, Jazwares is pursuing a separate case against Chinese online retailer Alibaba for allegedly selling counterfeits. Jazwares’ parent company was bought by US billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment firm in 2022.
Build-A-Bear launched its Skoosherz range to capitalize on the popularity of soft toys leading up to Valentine’s Day but initially did not respond to requests for comment on the matter