Monday, June 05, 2006

It's Barbie's, eh?

From what I understand, the good people at Mattel have made it a practice to sue anyone or anything that might use the name Barbie (or the image) in anything that remotely resembles a less-than-good-old-fashioned-Americana way. This goes from people who have run Barbie museums to people who parodied Barbie to that one hit wonder band Aqua (Barbie girl).

So it's not terribly surprising to me that they would sue a Montreal, Canada based chain of restaurants known as "Barbie's Resto Bar." They sued on grounds that by using the Barbie name, the restaurant hoped to benefit from the understood guarantee of "character and quality" associated with it. (Note - the Barbie in the restaurant name seems to come from the menu item "barbie-q")

Fortunately, the Canadian Supreme Court found that not to be the case, noting that the dictionary definition of Barbie Doll is "a female who is superficially attractive in a conventional way, especially with blue eyes and blond hair, but who lacks personality." and adding "In that regard, the association of the Barbie doll with food might be taken as a warning of blandness."

Now, I have no problem with Barbie. I think it is an important part of good ol' fashioned Americana. But I do wish that Mattel would stop suing everything that uses the word Barbie. I wonder if Australian shrimp are next?


Gramma said...

In terms of language, repeated and common usage of a word makes it legitimate. "Barbie" in our culture has come to be used in that way. Barbie goes back to 1957, when I didn't get one for Christmas. (I didn't get a Barbie because my parents objected to the good old fashioned values this hideously disproportiioned doll represented). Seems like 50 years of common usage would supercede Mattel's right to sue.

Michelle said...

Hehehehehe, let em try Steve!!

Bellejar said...

I have always secretly wanted to open a restaurant with Buffet style seating and call it Jimmy's Buffet. Do you think I would get sued? *grin*