A Nicki Minaj-inspired brand of potato chips has hit a legal snag.
Rap Snacks is being sued by Barbie doll manufacturer Mattel over its newly launched “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” chips.
Mattel Inc. filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court last week, alleging the popular snack brand infringed on its iconic Barbie-stylized trademark with the release of the product attached to the hip-hop superstar’s likeness.
“On information and belief, the association is so evident that upon seeing the packaging, representatives for Defendant’s celebrity partner queried whether Rap Snacks had obtained permission from Mattel,” the complaint reads, according to official legal documents obtained by Reuters. “Indeed, Rap Snacks never requested or received any such permission” and “proceeded to launch its product line anyway using the packaging.”
The El Segundo, California-headquartered toy-maker argues the snack creates confusion among consumers, as it falsely associates the product with the Barbie brand, which also reportedly has its own line of snack foods under the “Barbie” name as part of “a broad range of commercial and consumer products.”
After Rap Snacks “made the deliberate and calculated choice” to hijack the trademark, it allegedly refused to stop using the name. Mattel is seeking an order to block the Black-owned company from using the Barbie name and is looking to receive unspecified damages as well as profits from the chip sales.
The company said it is suing as a last resort.
In June, People reported about Rap Snacks’ partnership with the 10-time Grammy Award nominated former chart-topping rap superstar.
Since the start of her career in the late aughts, Nicki Minaj, whose legal name is Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, has likened herself to the iconic doll and has an ardent fan base called “Barbz.” She was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Mattel Inc. filed civil action against the Danish band Aqua over the lyrics of their ubiquitous 1997 pop mega hit, “Barbie Girl.”
Rap Snacks, founded by Philadelphia-born entrepreneur James Lindsay, is available in over 4,200 Walmart stores across the country. The hip-hop culture inspired snack food company previously partnered with Cardi B, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Migos and Slutty Vegan owner Pinky Cole to use their likenesses on the snacks.
As of Monday, there is no trace of the Nicki Minaj “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” chips on its website.
Rap Snacks did not immediately respond to a Daily News request for comment.