Nicki Minaj’s name is at the center of a lawsuit launched by Mattel over a line of chips featuring the rapper’s name and image.
Mattel filed the lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court earlier this month, TMZ reports. The company is taking issue with Rap Snacks’ use of the word ‘Barbie’ in their chip packaging featuring Nicki.
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Images show an animated photo of her on the chip bag wearing a ‘Barbie’ necklace. The chip flavor is also spelt as “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle.” “[Rap Snacks] made the deliberate and calculated choice to launch a new product line using Mattel’s famous BARBIE trademark,” court documents filed by Mattel argue.
Mattel is only suing Rap Snacks, and is not naming Nicki in the lawsuit.
Rap Snacks’ use of the Barbie in a campaign featuring Nicki Minaj makes sense given the musician’s affinity for the famous doll.
Nicki often refers to Barbie in her music, usually in reference to herself, with sons like ‘Barbie Tingz ‘and ‘Barbie Dreams.’ She’s also worn multiple outfits inspired by the doll, and has her name set as Barbie on her official Instagram account.
Mattel claims that Rap Snacks never approached them before going live with the Barbie-Que flavor. In fact, Mattel says they tried to contact the snack company before they released the chips to negotiate an agreement but had no success.
“[Rap Snacks] refused to cease use of the BARBIE trademark and issued no corrective advertising, court documents continued. “Thereby forcing Mattel to bring this lawsuit as a last resort to protect its rights and prevent further consumer confusion.”
The toy company is further arguing that the chip packaging hurt their brand, as consumer are wrongful assuming Mattel’s Barbie is associated with the collaboration.
Given the Rap Snacks’ failure to get the proper copyright permissions, Mattel argues they’re owed damages and compensation. It’s unclear how high of a figure Mattel is hoping for.
They also want to block Rap Snacks from using the Barbie name on any future products, which would halt production of the Nicki Minaj chips.
Nicki’s Barbie-Que chips originally launched in June. “Nicki Minaj is unquestionably one of the most disruptive forces in the history of rap,” Rap Snacks’ CEO James Lindsay said in a press release.
“You’re talking about a woman who rewrote the rules of hip hop culture and happens to be a phenomenal entrepreneur, as well,” he continued. “It just makes sense that as a brand disrupting the snack industry, we align to push the bar even further. This is the beginning of a legendary partnership.”
Nicki has so far not commented on the lawsuit.
Sources: TMZ, NY Daily News, PEOPLE,
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