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Mattel sues over Nicki Minaj’s Barbie-Que snacks

By | Published on Thursday 18 August 2022

Nicki Minaj Barbie-Que Honey Truffle potato chips

Toy maker Mattel has sued snack company Rap Snack over its Nicki Minaj-themed Barbie-Que Honey Truffle potato chips. Or crisps if you prefer. Mattel, of course, owns the trademark for Barbie dolls and says that that mark is very much being infringed here.

Minaj – who refers to herself as Barbie and her fanbase as The Barbz – launched the snack in June via a partnership with Rap Snacks. At the time, CEO James Lindsay insisted that this was “the beginning of a legendary partnership”. Although, presumably, he wasn’t hoping that the legend would mainly be the story about that time they were sued by a massive toy brand.

In its legal action, Mattel is claiming that – when launching the Minaj endorsed crisps – Rap Snacks “made the deliberate and calculated choice to launch a new product line using Mattel’s famous Barbie trademark”.

Indeed, the typography on the Barbie-Que snack packs is similar – arguable identical – to that in the official Barbie logo. Mattel says that “Rap Snacks never requested or received any such permission [and] proceeded to launch its product line anyway using the packaging”.

The toy company says that it has previously contacted Rap Snacks demanding that it cease using the Barbie trademark and issue “corrective advertising”, but neither has come to fruition. As a result, it says in its legal filing, it is bringing “this lawsuit as a last resort to protect its rights and prevent further consumer confusion”.

Minaj herself is not named on the lawsuit. Mattel is asking the court to force Rap Snacks to stop using its trademark, and also award it some damages for good measure too. Lots of money presumably. Or maybe lots and lots and lots of crisps.

At the time of writing, Rap Snacks appears to have pulled all mention of Minaj’s crisps from its website. There are, however, still snacks aplenty to be had bearing the faces of rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Rick Ross and Master P.

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.