Pa. Designer: Wal-Mart Toy Nearly the Same as Mine

Pa. Designer: Wal-Mart Toy Nearly the Same as Mine Getty Images

A northeastern Pennsylvania woman who develops doll accessories and clothing believes Wal-Mart might be selling a knockoff of one of her designs.

Joann Cartiglia, the owner of Queen's Treasures in Stroudsburg, introduced a wooden snack stand called "The Bakery" in early 2013 that includes a pink-and-white striped awning, an oval sign, an antique-looking cash register, and toy cupcakes and cookies.

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Last week, she said she spotted a Wal-Mart product looking suspiciously like her own.

"I understand inspiration, but this is really David and Goliath. Normally people knock off big companies, not the other way around," Cartiglia told the Pocono Record in a story published Saturday.

Wal-Mart's plastic snack stand was developed last year and released this year, a company spokesman said. It also has a pink-and-white awning, an antique register, along with large oval sign with the words "Bake Sale." The cookies and cupcakes for both products are nearly identical, Cartiglia said, down to the white eight-petal flower that tops each cupcake.

The retail giant's product was developed by Paradise Kids LLC for Wal-Mart, said company spokesman John Forrest.

"They make the products for us to select and buy. This product was presented to us last fall," Forrest said.

He did not know whether Wal-Mart would investigate Cartiglia's claims.

Paradise Kids LLC did not respond Friday to email and phone messages from the Pocono Record seeking comment. Messages left by The Associated Press on Saturday were not immediately returned.

Cartiglia, who first introduced her product at the annual Toy Fair in New York City as part of her Shoppe Series for 18-inch dolls, said she was approached by a buyer from Wal-Mart who "asked if we would be interested in dealing with them," Cartiglia said.

Cartiglia told the buyer she would let them know, but never contacted them.

Cartiglia, whose products are sold by Amazon, Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart and FAO Schwarz in New York City, said it's unlikely she would pursue any sort of legal action.

"I am Joann Cartiglia, and they are Wal-Mart. That's the bottom line," she said.