Two plush toy makers, Squishmallows and Skoosherz, are engaged in a dispute over copyright issues. Squishmallows, made by Jazwares, is being called out by Skoosherz, made by Build-A-Bear Workshop, for its similarity to their own egg-shaped cushion animal characters. Despite the cuddly nature of the toys, the conflict has become a hard-nosed legal battle.
Squishmallows gained viral popularity on TikTok and are now available in more than 1,000 different versions. Originally available in a small range of animals that became increasingly popular during the pandemic. The market for velvety squashy toys has continued to grow, with many versions widely available and even counterfeits being alleged. 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 Workshop launched its Skoosherz range to capitalize on the popularity of soft toys leading up to Valentine’s Day. They did not initially respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit filed against them by Jazwares for allegedly copying their distinct look and feel of Squishmallows to capitalize on its global success blatantly and intentionally. Jazwares accuses Skoosherz of being “knockoffs” of the Squishmallows they have sold since 2017, pointing out similarities in the shapes of the toys, design, and fabric used.