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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 25, 2019

United States Files Complaint Seeking Forfeiture Of Thousands “Fashion Dolls” That Infringe On Mattel’s “Barbie” Copyright

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 21,852 counterfeit dolls at the border in International Falls, Minnesota

United States Attorney Erica MacDonald today announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to forfeit and recover approximately 21,852 fashion dolls that infringe a registered copyright owned by Mattel, Inc. 

As alleged in the forfeiture complaint, on September 27, 2017, a shipping container aboard a Canadian National Railway train arrived into Ranier, Minnesota. The importer, Greenbrier International Inc. d/b/a Dollar Tree Inc., and Dollar Tree Distribution (“Greenbrier”) listed the contents of the shipping container as “Other Toys” on its manifest. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers examined the container and discovered the 21,852 toy “fashion dolls.” Representatives of Mattel reviewed photographs of the fashion dolls and confirmed that they were unauthorized copies that infringed the “CEO Barbie” doll head copyright owned by Mattel, Inc. Specifically, Mattel identified several features of the copyrighted CEO Barbie head sculpt infringed by the fashion dolls, including the shape of the mouth, nose and jaw.

As alleged in the forfeiture complaint, in 2016, Greenbrier attempted to import 13,296 Mermaid fashion dolls that were seized at the border by CBP for infringement of the CEO Barbie head sculpt. In both instances, the counterfeit dolls originated from the same exporter/shipper located in Hong Kong.

This case is being handled by the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, and was investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Topic(s): 
Asset Forfeiture
Component(s): 
Updated April 25, 2019