It was bound to happen. The owners of the Barbie trademark are blasting a Hip-Hop company that is using one of their most profitable properties.
One might automatically think of Nicki Minaj, and through a tangential relationship, that could be right.
The legendary toy company, Mattel, Inc., has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against her partners at Rap Snacks, Inc. The “Barbie Tingz” rapper is not part of the complaint.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, Aug. 8th, includes one count of federal unfair competition and false designation of origin, one count of federal trademark dilution, and a singular count of state unfair competition violation.
According to a lawsuit exclusively obtained by AllHipHop.com, the principal defendant in the case is Rap Snacks, Inc, the company that gave Nicki her own chip just a month ago.
According to the claim, “for decades, Mattel’s Barbie has been one of the world’s most well-known and recognizable brands.”
“From Barbie’s origins as America’s first fashion doll to the expansive product line of today, which includes dolls inspired by Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, and Eleanor Roosevelt, among other role models, Barbie has inspired the limitless potential in generations of children through play,” the lawsuit continued to read, furthering establishing who created, built and solidified the name and brand association.
“Barbie has also become a growing franchise and popular culture phenomenon outside of the toy aisle, from an established array of Barbie-branded consumer products to a broad range of popular animated television series and specials, and more recent initiatives like the upcoming live-action Barbie theatrical film, all produced or licensed and supported by Mattel.”
With their new partnership with the Queens rapper, Mattel alleges Rap Snacks has been trying to profit off of their golden cow (or doll).
Lawyers write, “Rap Snacks made the deliberate and calculated choice to launch a new product line using Mattel’s famous BARBIE trademark.”
“That choice, made without any prior notice to Mattel, was unlawful. As a result, Mattel has been forced to bring this lawsuit to defend its rights to the BARBIE brand because Defendant Rap Snacks impermissibly traded off, and continues to trade off, the value and goodwill of Mattel’s famous trademark,” it continued.
The lawsuit says Rap Snacks did not secure authorization from Mattel for the “launch of its new line of potato chips using Mattel’s BARBIE trademark on its packaging and advertising, including the stylized BARBIE trademark,” and claimed doing so was “purposely” deceitful.
One thing of note, by the public and Mattel, was that the packaging incorporates the color pink and the unique Barbie font — often associated with the doll.
“Defendant’s blatant and intentional use of Mattel’s trademark will cause consumers to associate the Defendant’s products with Mattel and its BARBIE brand,” the complaint contends.
The lawyers said even representatives for Nicki Minaj went back to Rap Snacks and asked if they got permission before jumping out the window with the chip. But they did not.
“Rap Snacks never requested or received any such permission from Mattel. Rap Snacks proceeded to launch its product line anyway,” the claim states. Instead, they engaged in a rigorous social media, marketing, and promotional campaign, which included placing the collateral featuring the bag, “on a New York City billboard, promotional potato chip giveaways at a music festival in New Orleans, an exclusive article announcing the launch in People magazine.”
Mattel wants to see Rap Snacks in court for causing brand confusion in the market after infringing on their trademark, “despite having actual notice of Mattel’s rights in its BARBIE trademark, on or around June 30, 2022.”
The company wants a judge to order a judgement clearly stating the violation and stop the company from pushing the chips, permanently removing them from any advertising or physical product bearing the BARBIE-QUE brand from any location, “including any website, grocery store, or retail outlet.”
Mattel wants Rap Snacks to actually cancel their trademark registrations for “Barbie-Que,” and to be awarded “all profits derived by Defendant Rap Snacks.” They are also suing for punitive and exemplary damages based on the Rap Snacks’ “willful and wrongful acts,” and court/ lawyer fees associated with the lawsuit.
The story is developing.