Artist Wins Right To Use Barbie Dolls

August 2004

Merchandising, Artists

Artist Tom Forsythe from Utah has fought off an action by Mattel who attempted to prevent the artist from using Barbie Dolls in his work. Mr Forsythe photographed undressed dolls positioned with kitchen equipment to comment on the subservience of women. He argued that the dolls produced a gender oppressive value in girls. In 1999 Mattel launched an action against Forsythe claiming copyright and trade mark infringement arguing that the artist was using their brand to sell and/or promote products without Mattel’s permission. They demanded destruction of any photographs and negatives. Judge Ronald Lew in the Los Angeles Federal District Court threw out the claim as groundless awarding costs of $1.8 million against Mattel and warned Mattel against intimidatory tactics.
See : The Times 29 June 2004

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