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2023 first gave us the The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and crafters went wild creating and listing Mario themed products on social media, their websites, and online marketplaces. Now, 2023 has given us Barbie.
(Side note: It’s a cute movie – but not as family friendly as I expected. It’s worth putting on a cute outfit and going to see it. The first five minutes will make you reminisce about playing Barbies.)
I’ve been watching Barbie Etsy listings for the last few weeks, and every day there are more and more handmade Barbie products being listed. Of course, some of these will be licensed – but many of them are not. So let’s look at it today: Can crafters make and sell handmade Barbie products? In other words, is Barbie trademarked? Copyrighted? Patented?
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Can Crafters Make and Sell Handmade Barbie Products?
No, crafters cannot make or sell handmade Barbie products without a license from Mattel.
Mattel owns multiple trademarks, patents, and copyrights for Barbie dolls, the Barbie name, Barbie related slogans, and more. I found it interesting that while Mattel doesn’t own a trademark on the Barbie pink color, they still attempt to legally protect it with lawsuits.
How Do You Get a License from Mattel?
Mattel uses licensing agents to license their properties. For example, Born Licensing licenses Barbie properties related to advertising. Despite a lot of online research, I couldn’t find licensing information or requirements for products. I cautiously assume that licensing is handled internally. I did find Mattel Licensing employees on LinkedIn. An email to Mattel regarding licensing did not get returned. So, if you have Mattel product licensing information, shoot me a message and I’ll update this section.
How Can You Share a Product Idea with Mattel?
Yes, you can share your awesome product idea with Mattel though a link on their website. Of course, be sure to read all the terms before submitting your product idea.
What About Making and Selling Barbie Clothes?
If you sew and are wondering about making and selling Barbie clothes, you can still do that. However, you cannot use the word ‘Barbie’ in your title, tags, description – or anywhere else. Instead, you will advertise your handmade Barbie clothes as ’12” doll clothes’.
What About the Barbie Girl Song by Aqua?
While not directly related to crafting Barbie products, I found this interesting: Mattel sued Aqua over the Barbie Girl song, claiming that the public could confuse Mattel as the producer of the song. A judge dismissed this case on the grounds that it was a parody – which is protected by copyright law.
What Happens if You Infringe on Mattel’s Barbie Intellectual Properties?
If you make and sell Barbie products without a license from Mattel, you open yourself and your business to legal troubles with Mattel.
So, just say NO! to making and selling handmade products.
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.