Mattel has revived a decade-old legal battle with Excite over the rights to CEO Barbie’s head.
Mattel has claimed that the Chinese toymaker violated a court order which barred it from misappropriating a design used on millions of dolls and licensed Barbie products.
The company sued Excite and its Texas-based affiliate on New Year’s Eve in Federal Court, on copyright, trademark, misappropriation and unjust enrichment claims.
The company first sued Excite in 2005, where it accused it of “infringing, diluting and otherwise misappropriating Mattel’s intellectual property”. The companies settled that year and Excite was enjoined from infringing on Mattel’s intellectual property rights.
However, the lawsuit states that: “Despite their actual knowledge of Mattel’s rights and despite the agreement and the injunction prohibiting further misappropriation by defendants, defendants have sold, and are continuing to sell, dolls that use heads which are copies of Mattel’s CEO Barbie doll head.”
Mattel calls the CEO Barbie’s head one of its most valuable intellectual properties. Since it first appeared on shelves almost 17 years ago, it has appeared atop tens of millions of dolls, including a best-selling line of Swan Lake Barbies.
The company is now seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction against Excite as well as actual, statutory and punitive damages and legal costs.