Litigating Barbie


IRWIN KRAMER: Mattel was not in the mood to party when Danish Rock Band, Aqua, mocked its vision of the all American Girl. Mattel thought the song Barbie Girl hurt her reputation. So, the toy maker defended her honor in court, suing Aqua’s record label for trademark infringement by taking Barbie’s name in vain.

Would the court play along?

The ruling was not music to Barbie’s ears. The band did not need Mattel’s permission to use her name. It had a first amendment right to lampoon this pop icon.

But Barbie survived the lyrics and the band that wrote them. Aqua split up a year before the case was decided.