Could the saga of Toys “R” Us in the U.S. get any weirder? Apparently, yes, it can.
On Aug. 3, WHP Global and Tru Kids Brands filed a complaint against Real Investment LLC dba Toys & Beyond alleging trademark infringement.
At the center of the suit is the former location of the short-lived new Toys “R” Us concept store that opened in November 2019 at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. Following the quiet closure of that store and its Houston counterpart this past January, Geoffrey and the gang closed the gate and left all of their expensive custom fixtures — including Geoffrey’s Treehouse, Geoffrey’s Magical Mirror, and the Play Around Theater — behind. Even the ceiling panels that were designed to hide customer tracking hardware installed by former Tru Kids partner b8ta were abandoned and left intact.
Real Investment LLC, which has been operating a Toys & Beyond store at the Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York, moved in this spring. The company stripped the “Geoffrey” name and Toys “R” Us logos from most of the fixtures, but Tru Kids Brands and its owner, WHP Global, believes that Toys & Beyond is infringing on its trademarks.
Tru Kids Brands is currently in the midst of mounting yet another attempt at a comeback in the U.S., with one of its new locations rumored to be taking shape at another mall in New Jersey. As for Toys & Beyond, this case could set some precedent as to what new tenants are allowed to do with old fixtures and signage when a prior tenant moves out. Across the country, hundreds of former Toys “R” Us stores are being used by new retailers, and in some cases, the ghosts of Geoffrey are not-so-hidden in plain sight.
If anything, it may end up serving as a reminder that when you move out, it’s probably best to clean up the place before handing over the keys.