According to a Reuters news item on the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has told Mattel it can press ahead with a lawsuit to enforce an agreement made in 1964 with German company Greiner & Hausser that settled charges that Mattel had copied the design for the Barbie doll. In 1961 Greiner & Hausser had accused Mattel of infringing its “Bild-Lilli” doll design, which was based on a comic-strip character. The dispute was settled in 1964 by the payment of a nominal sum but Greiner & Hausser brought fresh proceeding in Germany in 2001, claiming it had been defrauded by Mattel when it entered into the earlier deal and seeking royalties that could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Mattel’s response was to file its own lawsuit in Los Angeles in order to get a court to enforce the terms of the original settlement. A lawyer for Mattel was reported as saying that this week’s decision could be the last word in the case because the German courts have already rejected the new lawsuit seeking royalties.

The IPKat marvels at the frequency with which parties to freely negotiated agreements to settle IP disputes seek to avoid compliance with them. The bust-up between the former World Wrestling Federation and the World Wide Fund over use of the talismanic WWF trade mark is another dramatic example.

Some other Lillis: Lilli Hill, Lilli Lux and Lilli Burlero
Click here for a pretty picture on the Trademark Blog

MATTEL BURY GHOST OF 1964 BARBIE SETTLEMENT MATTEL BURY GHOST OF 1964 BARBIE SETTLEMENT Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 Rating: 5

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