City of Portland Sues for Copyright and Trademark Infringement over Toilet Design

Something stinks….copyright and trademark infringement. The City of Portland, Oregon sued Romtec Inc. over an infringing toilet. Portland is well known for its “green” initiatives, one of which is the Portland Loo. Portland Loo stalls are set up throughout the city on public sidewalks. These solar powered commodes allow Portland’s finest to simply hop of their bikes, do their business, and continue on their merry way. So proud of its contribution to the people of Portland, the city obtained copyright registration in July 2008 and trademark registration in March 2012. Now, Portland is claiming that Romtec’s Sidewalk Restroom infringes on its copyright and trademark rights.


The complaint alleges that Romtec, through its Sidewalk Restroom, is trying to take over the market for metropolitan public toilets by knocking off the Portland Loo. Specifically, Portland says that the Sidewalk Restroom bears a striking resemblance to the Portland Loo in its “total overall expression, appearance, configuration, size, description and promotion.” Moreover, Portland claims that Romtec tried to sabotage its attempt to expand its venture to the City of Cincinnati by presenting its own Sidewalk Restroom to Cincinnati at a much lower cost.

The City of Portland seeks injunctive relief, monetary damages, profits, attorneys’ fees and destruction of all infringing Sidewalk Restroom stations. And just when I thought I’ve seen everything, I see a lawsuit over toilets.