Fans of hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj may refer to themselves as The Barbz, but toy company Mattel does not want their brand associated with the rapper’s recently launched potato chips, and is taking legal action.
Early last week, Mattel filed a lawsuit against Rap Snacks, a food company inspired by hip-hop culture. The company argues that the snack brand, launched by Philadelphia-based entrepreneur James Lindsay, and that is part of music mogul Master P’s $200 million fortune, infringed on its Barbie trademark by releasing a bag of chips named “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle.”
In June, Rap Snacks announced that it was collaborating with Minaj for the new line of chips. Minaj, a 10-time Grammy-nominated artist with a net worth of $100 million, has not been named in the lawsuit.
“On information and belief, the association is so evident that upon seeing the packaging, representatives for Defendant’s celebrity partner queried whether Rap Snacks had obtained permission from Mattel,” according to court documents. “Indeed, Rap Snacks never requested or received any such permission” and “proceeded to launch its product line anyway using the packaging.”
The Lawsuit at a Glance
Mattel believes that the snack’s name and likeness to their brand will create confusion for consumers because it is not directly related to the Barbie brand. In addition, Mattel’s Barbie brand has a line of snacks that is part of its “broad range of commercial and consumer products,” according to court documents.
The complaint argues that Rap Snacks “made the deliberate and calculated choice” to use the trademark. Mattel alleges that Rap Snacks refused to stop using the name.
As part of the lawsuit, the toy company would like an order blocking Rap Snacks from using the Barbie brand. They are also seeking profits from the sale of the chips and unspecified damages.
Rap Snacks Focuses On Hip-Hop Culture and Branding
Rap Snacks is sold in more than 4,200 Walmart stores throughout the United States and is also available through the company’s e-commerce website. The company previously has collaborated with artists such as Cardi B, Rick Ross, Fabolous and Migos and Slutty Vegan owner Pinky Cole to use their likenesses on the snacks.
At press time, Rap Snacks has removed the line of potato chips from its website.