15 August 2022TrademarksStaff Writer

Mattel hits Nicki Minaj crisp maker with TM suit

Toymaker Mattel has accused the maker of Rap Snacks of violating its trademark rights through the sale of its Nicki Minaj-branded "Barbie-Que Honey Truffle" crisps.

Mattel—in the suit filed on Thursday, 11 August at the US District Court for the Central District of California—claimed that Rap Snacks was trading off the value and goodwill of Mattel’s ‘Barbie’ trademark.

"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,” alleged the suit.

According to Mattel, Rap Snacks is using the ‘Barbie’ trademark on its packaging and advertising, along with the use of imagery and colours associated with the Barbie brand.

Mattel added: “On information and belief, the association is so evident that upon seeing the packaging, representatives for the defendant's celebrity partner queried whether Rap Snacks had obtained permission from Mattel.”

Nicki Minaj, who is not a defendant in the complaint, partnered with Rap Snacks to launch the potato chips. Rap Snacks has worked with other famous rappers to make signature lines of snacks, including Snoop Dogg and Cardi B.

Mattel told the court that the chips, announced in late June, “blatantly” copied the ‘Barbie’ logos and has led to actual consumer confusion with consumers falsely believing that Mattel authorised the product.

According to the suit, ahead of the launch, the CEO of Rap Snacks filed an intent-to-use trademark application, number 97/346,582 to register ‘Barbie-Que’ in connection with food and drink.

Mattel, on learning of the application, demanded that Rap Snacks cease use of ‘Barbie’ on or in connection with its products and withdraw or abandon its application. However, the application has not been withdrawn.

Now, Mattel has asked the court for injunctive relief, permanent removal of any products bearing the ‘Barbie-Que’ brand,  the cancellation of any trademark registrations that may be issued during litigation and an award of profits.

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