Life in plastic is fantastic for Mattel in designs win

By Dean Rae

11-2019

Mattel Inc. successfully obtained a declaration of invalidity against a Community design registration for a doll's head; the design lacked individual character over an earlier design for Mattel's Barbie Doll.

Background

The applicant was the well-known Barbie doll manufacturer, Mattel. Mattel launched Barbie in 1959 and has sold over 1 billion Barbie dolls worldwide.

The respondent, Jieyang Defra Industry Co. Ltd. ("Jieyang") also manufactures toys, specialising in dolls and doll accessories.

In July 2019, Mattel applied to the EUIPO for a declaration of invalidity against one of Jieyang's Registered Community Designs (RCD) ("the Contested Design"). The Contested Design was for a doll's head (Picture 1) (RCD No. 002459701-0001). Jieyang registered the Contested Design on 7 May 2014, but it claimed priority from an earlier German application dating 14 November 2013 ("the Priority Date"). Mattel argued the Contested Design lacked individual character and novelty, and should therefore be declared invalid.

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