From a fashion doll to a Hollywood star – Barbie has evolved over time. But her path to the big screen would not have been possible without intellectual property: Trademarks, patents, designs and copyrights make up the brand’s robust IP portfolio.
Invented by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, a first prototype of the doll was patented in 1961. Further patents followed, including one for a movable waist joint. There are 23 registered EU trademarks protecting Barbie’s brand name and various versions of the logo. Barbie’s friend Ken is also protected by a trademark.
‘Barbiecore’, the word describing a fashion trend inspired by Barbie’s looks, is a trademark protected by Mattel.
The colour pink associated with the world of Barbie (also known as ‘Barbie Pink’) is also protected as a colour mark in the US.
The brand has secured a strong online presence by registering a variety of internet domain names that include the word ‘Barbie’.
Mattel has been involved in countless legal battles over Barbie’s intellectual property rights – a recent one involved the design of the doll’s head. So far, the company has managed to retain these rights.
Licensing and merchandising deals, as well as brand collaborations, are among Mattel’s latest moves to leverage and expand Barbie’s intellectual property.