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Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
296 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2002)


Facts

MCA Records (MCA) (defendant) produced a song by the band Aqua called “Barbie Girl.” The song invoked images of and poked fun at Mattel, Inc.’s (Mattel) (plaintiff) famous doll, Barbie. Mattel had a valid trademark for Barbie. Mattel brought suit, seeking to enjoin MCA’s use of the Barbie mark. At trial, MCA did not dispute that its use of the Barbie mark was dilutive. However, the district court held that the song was a parody of the doll, and that the song was not likely to confuse consumers as to the source of the song. Mattel appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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