Seeks Protection for TUFF® Branded Filing Products


HASTINGS, Minn. (April 30, 2009) — Smead®, a leading provider of filing and organizational products, announced today that it has filed a civil lawsuit against Esselte in United States District Court in Minnesota for trademark infringement and unfair competition in conjunction with its TUFF® brand and “strong man” logo. This action is being taken in response to Esselte’s recent product introduction of a new hanging folder, which Esselte has elected to call HANG TUFF. Smead contends that Esselte’s use of the HANG TUFF mark and “strong man” logo in connection with their hanging folder product will cause confusion in the marketplace and damage the Smead TUFF® brand.

“Smead has been selling a line of products under the TUFF® trademark and using the TUFF® “strong man” logo for more than 15 years,” said Bob Karrick, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Smead. “Smead has worked hard to steadily increase consumer brand recognition and acceptance of this special product line. We believe the Court will agree with Smead, and that we will be successful in defending our TUFF® trademark.”

Smead is seeking an injunction prohibiting Esselte from using the HANG TUFF mark and “strong man” logo in connection with the sale and advertising of hanging folders, as well as destruction of all marketing materials, catalogs and products containing the marks. Smead is also seeking monetary damages and demanding that Esselte change the name and remove their similar strong man logo from their products.

Additional information can be found at

Download Pdf

Smead Manufacturing Company, a leader in office filing products and records management systems, was established in 1906 in Hastings, Minnesota. Smead is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) offering thousands of organizational products for use in the home or office. For more information on Smead’s high-quality organizational products, including hundreds of environmentally friendly products made from Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)-certified materials, visit To find your personal organizing style, visit Smead Organomics at