CEO Barbie’s Head|Protected at Last


LOS ANGELES (CN) — Barbie may lay down her head and rest. Mattel has settled its lawsuit accusing a Hong Kong toymaker of putting CEO Barbie’s trademarked head on top of Excite dolls.
     Mattel on Friday voluntarily dismissed its federal lawsuit against Excite Ltd., “pursuant to a settlement.”
     The 1-page dismissal without prejudice provides no details on the settlement, and attorneys for the two companies did not return calls seeking comment.
     Mattel accused Hong Kong-based Excite of copyright and trademark infringement, misappropriation and unjust enrichment for copying the head of CEO Barbie.
     “Defendants not only market and sell the same types of goods as Mattel, but defendants also market and sell their dolls in the same channels of trade, in the same retail stores and to the same groups of consumers as Mattel’s goods,” Mattel said in the lawsuit it filed in January.
     The fight over Barbie’s head goes back more than a decade. Mattel, based in El Segundo, brought a similar lawsuit in 2005, accusing Excite and subsidiaries of using about 20 versions of Barbie’s trademarked and copyrighted heads, including Neptune’s Daughter Barbie, SuperStar Barbie, My Scene Barbie, and CEO Barbie.
     When the 2005 case was settled, Excite agreed to a court order banning it from making or selling dolls bearing any of those heads.
     Mattel claimed in January, however, that Excite breached the agreement and violated the court order by selling “dolls that use heads which are copies of Mattel’s CEO Barbie doll head.”
     The CEO Barbie head is one of Barbie’s most popular faces. Mattel created it in 1998 as a smiling version of the Neptune’s Daughter head. Neptune’s Daughter also is known as the Mackie doll head, for designer Bob Mackie, who created a line of clothing and accessories for Barbie in 1992.
     Since it was launched in 1999, the CEO Barbie head has been mounted on “tens of millions” of dolls in hundreds of versions, including the best-selling “Swan Lake” Barbies, according to the complaint.
     Court documents do not explain how Barbie or her head were granted the CEO title.
     Shortly after the 2005 lawsuit was settled, The Onion published a satirical story about complaints that a CEO Barbie “encourages young girls to set impractical career goals.”
     The photo from The Onion story of a professional-looking Barbie-style doll is still the first picture of a woman that comes up in a Google image search for the word “CEO.”

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