Mattel Ordered to Pay $1.8 Million in Barbie Suit

The Associated Press reports that a federal judge has ordered toymaker Mattel Inc. to fork over more than $1.8 million to cover legal fees and court costs for a Utah man the company tried to sue in 1999. Mattel cried copyright infringement when artist Tom Forsythe used nude Barbie dolls in a series of photographs titled “Food Chain Barbie.”

Mattel, which has extended the Barbie franchise to include a highly successful series of direct-to-video animated films, felt Forsythe’s photos might hurt the 45-year-old toy brand. The company lost the case on grounds of Forsythe’s First Amendment right to parody and had its appeal rejected in December.

Forsythe believes the Barbie dolls embody “materialistic and gender-oppressive values” and says his art serves to illustrate that point. While some of the photos have the dolls in sexually compromising positions, most express a culinary theme by showing them swimming in blenders and cooking in ovens.