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Burberrys Brby Trademark

Barbie's Mattel Opposes Burberry's BRBY Trademark Application

Joshua Julien Brouard

Joshua Julien Brouard

15 July 20232.41 min read

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Barbie's Mattel Opposes Burberry's BRBY Trademark Application

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    Trademark applications can be rejected for being too similar to other marks. The trademark office might also deny marks if they're similar and are applied for competing classes of goods or services. American multinational toy manufacturer, and the famous Barbie dolls creator, argue that Burberry's BRBY trademark application fulfills both of these criteria.

    Read on as we explore this opposition and potential trademark trial in depth.

    What classes did Burberry apply for?

    Burberry Limited has filed trademark registrations for BRBY under classes 18 & 25. Class 18 includes leather products that don't include clothing. This could mean:

    • Duffel bags,
    • Handbags,
    • Bags,
    • Travel bags,
    • Walking Sticks,
    • And so many other leather goods.

    Class 25, on the other hand, includes a wide variety of clothing products, such as the following:

    • Coats,
    • Jackets,
    • Rainwear,
    • Jerseys,
    • Skirts,
    • Gloves,
    • Footwear,
    • Shirts,
    • Jeans,
    • And so many other clothing items.

    Burberry applied initially on the 23rd of July, 2022. The USPTO published it for opposition on the 27th of December 2022 (with the time being extended to the 20th of January 2023).

    Mattel filed the official opposition on the 26th of June, 2023.

    Burberry's BRBY trademark: Mattel's argument against these classes

    Barbie maker Mattel argues that its BARBIE mark includes class 18 and class 25 products. Mattel claims that the company has and presently uses the mark for the following:

    • Handbags,
    • Luggage,
    • Overnight bags,
    • Footwear,
    • Headware,
    • Apparel,
    • And a wide range of clothing.

    As Burberry has registered the BRBY mark for the same, Mattel argues that the trademark office should reject the application. It’s important to keep in mind that the Barbie brand has been around for decades, and over 600 million Barbie dolls have been sold.

    What about the likelihood of confusion?

    Definition:  Likelihood of confusion means that when two trademarks are similar and the goods or services they're being used are related in such a way that potential customers may confuse the two companies with each other.

    Under the representation of  Venable LLP, Mattel argues that the BARBIE and BRBY marks are "phonetically identical and visually similar."

    In a statement, the toy company added: "This is particularly so given there is no correct pronunciation of a mark. Thus, because the applicant's mark lacks any vowels to guide pronunciation, it would likely read in a manner phonetically identical to BARBIE."

    It's apparent that, along with Burberry planning to use the mark for similar goods or services, it's also similar and therefore boasts a significant likelihood of confusion.

    In an additional statement, Mattel claims that the BRBY mark "could reasonably be viewed by consumers as a subset or expansion of the BARBIE trademarks.

    Plans for a live-action Barbie film

    This opposition occurred during the soon-to-be-released Barbie movie. This film will star Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie, as Barbie, and Blade Runner's Ryan Gosling, as Ken.

    This time frame is interesting.

    The Barbie franchise likely anticipates an increase in Barbie-related merchandise sales following the movie and therefore is probably concerned about how confusion with the BRBY mark may impact its reputation and sales.

    Mattel argues that Burberry's mark is so similar to the Barbie mark that it will likely "dilute the distinctive quality of the BARBIE mark."

    Avoiding oppositions

    If there's any "moral of the story" to be taken away here, it's that it's vital to do thorough research before applying for a trademark. A licensed attorney can do this and prevent costly issues such as what Burberry is facing with the BARBIE trademark.

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    Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.