Should Mattel’s Barbie Sue Nicki Minaj for Trademark Infringement?

In Fashion Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

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Law student and publisher of wants to know why Barbie has not sued Nicki Minaj for Trademark infringement?

“I do not understand how Mattel has not taken legal action against Minaj for trademark infringement. Where are you Mattel? Nicki Minaj has used the Barbie trademark in jewelry, album design and even artist label. I found absolutely no lawsuit, or legal complaint against Nicki Minaj. . .”

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. . . 🙂 *In Arnold’s voice, “What’chu looking at?” (RIP Gary Coleman). I am a lawyer, you know. :)*

In this instance, if Mattel was to sue, I am uncertain that a trademark infringement suit against Nicki Minaj would pass the “likelihood of confusion” test which remains central in trademark litigation suits.

Are hip-hop fans in any way confused with Nicki Minaj’s brand and that of Mattel’s Barbie? I think not. Do little girls or their parents, who purchase Barbie dolls, confuse, in any shape or form, their dolls with Nicki Minaj? I really think not. For UDUAK LAW FIRM analysis on Trademark Infringement using the Chris Aire law suit, click here.

Mattel does bite hard when it comes to trademark suits. Case in point is the Bratz v Barbie lawsuit. Mattel won $100million for infringement. Yikes!





Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her firm’s fashion and entertainment law practice areas. Ms. Uduak has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry has been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA: ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also the author of Fashionentlaw™ and also has over two decades combined hands on industry experience in the creative industry which includes modeling, retail, fashion production, public relations, digital media, journalism and publishing. For further inquiries or if you are seeking legal representation, please email ( You may also follow her on twitter at @uduaklaw

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