Nicki Minaj ‘Barbie-Que’ Chip Maker Hit by Mattel Trademark Lawsuit

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Barbie dolls, a brand owned by Mattel, are seen at the FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

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  • Rap Snacks maker allegedly violated ‘Barbie’ trademark
  • Mattel said the potato chips would cause confusion among customers

(Reuters) – Mattel Inc sued the maker of Rap Snacks in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday, alleging that its Nicki Minaj-branded “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” chips infringe Mattel’s trademark rights to the famous Barbie doll.

Mattel said it never licensed Rap Snacks Inc to use its marks. The toymaker asked the court for an order preventing Rap Snacks from using the “Barbie” name, as well as damages, including profits from sales of “Barbie-Que.”

Mattel declined to comment on the lawsuit. Rap Snacks did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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Minaj is not a defendant in the case. His Universal Music label did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The rapper has long used “Barbie” as part of her persona, and she collaborated with El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel on a doll for charity in 2011.

Miami-based Rap Snacks has partnered with several famous rappers to create iconic snack lines, like Snoop Dogg’s OG Bar-B-Que Cheddar potato chips. Mattel told the court that Rap Snacks’ Minaj brand “Barbie-Que” crisps, launched in June, create customer confusion and a false association with the “Barbie” brand.

“The association is so evident that upon viewing the packaging, representatives of the defendant’s celebrity partner asked if Rap Snacks had obtained Mattel’s clearance,” the lawsuit states. “Indeed, Rap Snacks has never requested or received such permission.”

Mattel also said it sells its own snacks under the “Barbie” name, which increases the risk of confusion.

The company said Rap Snacks refused to stop using the name or “correct the false impressions it conveyed to the public” and filed a lawsuit “as a last resort”.

The case is Mattel Inc v. Rap Snacks Inc, US District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:22-cv-05702.

For Mattel: Lee Brenner and Meaghan Kent of Venable LLP

For Rap Snacks: not available

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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