Toymaker Mattel went to court to declare that the name of its clean-cut Barbie dolls does not belong on a model’s pornographic website.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Manhattan, Mattel said the website for an adult entertainer named China Barbie had tried to benefit from Mattel’s success with the 48-year-old line of dolls, which includes Barbie’s sister, Skipper, her best friend Midge, and Skipper’s boyfriend Kevin.
China Barbie’s site says she is a “cordial young lady” who sat behind the desks of some of the world’s leading investment banking firms and advertising agencies in New York, before getting into porn.
It says her filmography includes Me Luv You Long Time, Ethnic Cheerleaders 8 and Passport to Paradise.
The site charges €14.70 for monthly access to its photos and video clips.
The lawsuit said Mattel had registered its trademarks to protect the Barbie line of dolls and the €1.1bn in sales that it generated. Mattel said it had sold more than a billion Barbie dolls worldwide and a typical American girl owned eight of them.
According to the lawsuit, the offending website is registered to Global China Networks and is operated by Terri Gibson, a Hollywood, Florida, resident.
A telephone message left for Gibson was not immediately returned, and an email sent to China Barbie through the website was returned as undeliverable.
The lawsuit said Global China Networks used a domain name containing the word “barbie” in a “bad faith attempt to profit from Mattel’s Barbie trademarks” and had damaged Mattel’s good name.
It asked the court to order the transfer of the domain name registration to Mattel, to award damages of up to €73,000 and to order that any profits Global China Networks achieved be given to Mattel.
Mattel, based in El Segundo, California, said the website was toying with an image it had carefully crafted since company co-founder Ruth Handler created the Barbie doll in 1959 after discovering that her daughter, Barbara, preferred to play with paper cutouts of adult female fashion dolls rather than baby dolls.