Toy maker Mattel Inc. went to court Tuesday to declare that the name of its clean-cut Barbie dolls doesn’t belong on a model’s pornographic Web site.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Mattel said the Web site for an adult entertainer named China Barbie has tried to benefit from Mattel’s success with the 48-year-old line of dolls, which includes Barbie’s sister, Skipper, her best friend, Midge, and Skipper’s boyfriend, Kevin.
China Barbie’s site says she’s a “cordial young lady” who sat behind the desks of some of the world’s leading investment banking firms and advertising agencies in New York before getting into porn. It says her filmography includes “Me Luv You Long Time,” “Ethnic Cheerleaders 8” and “Passport to Paradise.”
The lawsuit said Mattel had registered its trademarks to protect the Barbie line of dolls and the $1.6 billion in sales that it generates. Mattel said it has sold more than a billion Barbie dolls worldwide and a typical American girl owns eight of them.
According to the lawsuit, the offending Web site is registered to Global China Networks LLC and is operated by Terri Gibson, a Hollywood, Fla., resident.
A telephone message left for Gibson on Tuesday was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit said Global China Networks used a domain name containing the word “barbie” in a “bad faith attempt to profit from Mattel’s Barbie trademarks” and had damaged Mattel’s good name.
The lawsuit asked the court to order the transfer of the domain name registration to Mattel, to award damages of up to $100,000 and to order that any profits Global China Networks achieved be given to Mattel.
El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel said the Web site is toying with an image it had carefully crafted since company co-founder Ruth Handler created the Barbie doll in 1959 after discovering that her daughter, Barbara, preferred to play with paper cutouts of adult female fashion dolls rather than baby dolls.