Mattel's abuses of the courts

Barbie SLAPP

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This page is about Mattel using SLAPP suits and threats of litigation.

  • In my case, Mattel kept a libel claim that they had to know was baseless as a way to silence me. I say that they had to know their counterclaim was baseless because they had already paid over $140K in a judgment on the same facts that they claim were libelous.

  • Mattel just lost the appeal in Mattel v. MCA Records. Here the judge referred to Mattel as "Speech-Zilla.".

  • The Millers were sued when they "put Barbie in an unflattering light" and "showed Barbie with alcohol, Barbie with pills."  When an attorney questioned the validity of Mattel's copyright, Mattel tried to have him prevented from practicing law in California. It is my understanding that Mattel dropped the suit, after extensive expensive litigation, in exchange for the ability to review the periodicals before they are published. 

  • When Paul David wrote in his catalog that "if there were an ugly contest, Elizabethan Queen Barbie would definitely win." Mattel sued claiming trademark and copyright violation. After "a year of hell" there was a settlement that required David to portray Barbie his catalog as "wholesome, friendly, accessible and kind, caring and protecting, cheerful, fun loving, talented and independent." 

  • The Book that Mattel didn't like -- Body Outlaws: formally known as Adios, Barbie. Mattel demanded that Seal Press change the name of the book. Seal Press gave-in as many others had, because they did not have the money to fight Mattel's legal budget.
  • Mattel even objects to jokes about Barbie. When a college student put up "Barbie's Christmas List", Mattel threatened.
  • The CPBreak case. This is where two programmers broke the weak encryption that CyberPatrol used. Of course with the legal threats Skala  and Jansson surrendered. But as a result, the Copyright office changed the DMCA to permit the reverse engineering and decryption of censorware block lists. Of course Irwin Schwartz, Mattel's attorney, claimed that if the emergency injunction was not granted Mattel and MSI would suffer irreparable harm. The day after the injunction was granted, Schwartz wrote in a Boston Globe article that they had already changed to software to make the CPBreak software ineffective. Mattel has since sold MSI (the Cyber Patrol people).
  • A site that seems to describe some Mattel's methods -- Burn and Suppress. Mattel seems to practice scorched earth litigation to suppress any negative commentary against them.
  • Mattel went after Barbie Benson because her domain name had Barbie in it and her site was titled "Barbie's Sin Circus." After much money spent, Barbie Benson won -- Mattel's suit was a bust. How can anyone get confused between a plastic Barbie doll and Barbie Benson, a real life doll?
  • Mattel goes after a girls club, "The Barbies"



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