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Using things out of context may not protect you from an IP claim

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Intellectual Property

One of the key attributes that many artists possess is the ability to see things in a different way from most people. They take something from one context and give it a whole new meaning by putting it into a different one.

An example is Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans print. He took a grocery store standard and made it attractive, making himself considerable money in the process.

IP rights can cross boundaries

Artists need to be careful when doing such things, as anyone that owns the rights to the original property might be unhappy about the way they use it or the fact that they did not get permission to use it. It’s not just artists that fall foul of this, either. Businesses can too.

One recent example relates to Barbie

Most companies out there know that trying to make anything doll-like and call it a Barbie will lead to a legal showdown with Mattel Inc, the toy company that owns the rights to the megastar of the doll world.

As Barbie does not appear to eat much, few people would have thought of using the name to promote food. Until now. Mattel has just sued a company called Rap Snacks Inc for using the name Barbie on a packet of potato chips.

The snack in question is a branding collaboration with rapper Niki Minaj. Perhaps unwisely, they decided to call one flavor “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle.”  While it is clever wordplay, it could prove to be costly if the court rules against them

If you are worried that someone could use your intellectual property in a way you have not thought of, seek legal help to understand your options to protect it.