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Mattel vs. bondage Barbie -- is it over?
Toymaker says it considers the case 'ongoing,' even though it's been dismissed by a New York court.
July 22, 2005: 2:00 PM EDT
By Grace Wong, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A trademark case brought by Mattel against Barbies Shop, a Canadian store selling bondage clothing has been dismissed by a New York court, but the nation's largest toymaker said Thursday the case "isn't resolved."

"We don't consider this case resolved because it was dismissed because of jurisdiction, not merit," said Mattel (Research) spokeswoman Lisa Marie Bongiovanni.

Last year, Mattel sued "Barbies Shop" for capitalizing on its trademark name Barbie. Mattel argued the store's Web address, infringed on its trademark rights and its own Web address --

Barbies Shop owner Barbie Anderson-Walley said she's thrilled the suit has been dismissed and that Mattel doesn't have a case to come back at it. The dismissal shows that "if you're born with a name you can use it for a place of business," she said.

Barbies Shop, which is based in Calgary, Alberta, specializes in selling clothes for "bad boyz and girls," according to its Web site.

Shoppers can buy vinyl corsets and leather studded bras, as well as accessories like bondage belts.

But Mattel's Giovanni said it isn't the naughty nature of the store's products that sparked the trademark suit, but the fact that Barbies Shop sells clothing.

"We own the Barbie name, clothing and dolls. Even if your name happens to be Tommy, Ralph or Barbie, in some areas that's already a trademark."

Anderson-Walley said the dismissal on the basis of jurisdiction proves that her store does not infringe on Mattel's business place.

"My computer data shows how many American orders I have filled, and it's not a lot. They made it sound like I was infringing on their waters, when in reality I'm not," she said.

Anderson-Walley said she considers the case closed and that her lawyer doesn't expect Mattel to appeal. "They'll move on," she said.

Mattel's Giovanni said: "We consider this to be an ongoing piece of litigation and are considering our options." That could mean finding a venue where there is jurisdiction, although she said the next course of action had not been decided yet.


Does Barbie still have it? Slipping sales of the doll pulled down Mattel's second-quarter earnings -- click here.  Top of page


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