January 2011, my colleague at Fame Appeal wrote a nice piece wondering why Mattel Inc. had not sued Nicki Minaj for Trademark Infringement. It piqued my curiosity and I had this to say about his article:
“I think FameAppeal raises a valid point. But, from a marketing and PR tactic on Mattel’s part, why sue when Nicki Minaj is giving them amazing and free publicity? Plus, Fame Appeal’s statements assumes Minaj and Mattel do no have some sort of licensing agreement that permits Minaj’s use.
Back to the publicity point, for fashion brands, it is not always about quickly filing a complaint and instituting a lawsuit. Many times, from a cost benefit analysis, and publicity standpoint, if it ain’t hurting your brand, you can bypass a lawsuit, until later. . . ” -Fashionentlaw.com
Mattel Inc. finally gave both of us an answer! Early this December, the company informed the public of its partnership (licensing deal) with Nicki Minaj to create Nicki Minaj One-of a-Kind Barbie Dolls that would be auctioned for charity.
“”For me this is a very major moment, because it just shows that you can come from nothing and still be a force in the main world, a business woman, and hopefully a mogul one day. It shows that my Barbz are special, and everyone loves them as much as I love them, so I want to thank them most importantly,” (said Nicki Minaj)
“Barbie is obviously a pop culture icon. She’s been in the spotlight for over 50 years, and strikes that chord with girls of all ages in terms of being representative of the times. And Nicki is a big part of pop culture and also huge within the fashion industry, as well as a big Barbie fan,” says Stefani Yocky, a Barbie spokeswoman. “It’s really exciting for us that she’s been so generous to allow us to create this one-of-a-kind doll to support such an important cause.”" - Billboard.
Folks there are always numerous ways to approach legal problems you may face in your businesses. As much as I enjoy trial work, I know in representing clients that lawsuits, from a cost effective and pragmatic standpoint, is not always the best solution. Accordingly, be sure to think things through and think outside the box when legal problems. Of course be sure to seek the expertise of professionals i.e. lawyers who can provide legal advice on the best direction to take for your matters.
For Basic Deal Points in Licensing Agreements that you should consider, watch my interview with Greg Battersby who discusses the basic anatomy of licensing agreements.
If you want to further discuss this issue with me or seek further information, please contact me at www.fashionentlaw.com/contact