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City of Portland Sues Roseburg Toilet Company Over Lookalike Loo

The City of Portland is suing a Roseburg company for copyright infringement for selling a knockoff Portland Loo.

The city sued Romtec, Inc., a restroom manufacturer 178 miles south of Portland, in U.S. District Court yesterday for trademark violation on Portland's patented public toilet.

WW first reported in May that while city officials are struggling to sell the Portland Loo to other cities, Romtec is selling an outdoor toilet that looks exactly like the Loo—but retails for half the price.

The suit (PDF) asks the court to order Romtec to stop making and marketing its "Sidewalk Restroom," which is also a steel outdoor toilet with angled slats at the top and bottom, so police can see inside.

The city demands the court seize and destroy any Sidewalk Restrooms that Romtec has in stock, and asks for damages. 

"After the success of the Portland Loo," the suit says, "Romtec now seeks to usurp the urban market with its Sidewalk Restroom, which is an obvious knock-off of the Portland Loo."

As WW reported in May, officials in the city's Bureau of Environmental Services are trying to sell the Loo to other cities, in order to recoup the costs of cleaning the six Loos the city has already installed. The city sells each Loo for $90,000, with a discount for buying two.

But at least one city—Cincinnati—broke off negotiations with Portland after discovering Romtec's Sidewalk Restroom. That metal public restroom looks like the Portland Loo's identical twin—but starts at $38,500.

"The Portland Loo comes with all the frills and thrills—the solar panels, the stainless steel," Jon Harmon, legislative director for Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach, told WW in May. "The Romtec model has that as an option."