Mattel has had a great summer, making Barbie popular again with new generations through its first Barbie movie.

It even made a new cultural phenomenon together with Oppenheimer: Barbenheimer. Which refers to the release of the movies Barbie and Oppenheimer during the same box-office period, and then watching them both in the cinema during that same period.

In China, the Barbie-movie was a big hit that was applauded for female empowerment. It also brought pink outfits on the streets.

Furthermore, the word 'Kenough!' or the phrase, 'I am Kenough!' became big hits in various outfits. Ken, as always, is the 'extra role' next to Barbie. After all, the IP of Mattel regarding Barbie is all about, indeed: Barbie. That was the clear take-away from the movie.

So that would answer the question: But what about Ken? Still, it would be interesting to see what Mattel has registered in China, to see if it is indeed all about Barbie in China.

Barbie registrations in China

When looking at registrations in China, it is clear that Mattel has registered or has tried to register the Barbie related trademarks in as broad as you can expect classification-wise.

This sees on, amongst others, the word mark Barbie, the Chinese word mark 芭比 (Babi is the Chinese translation of Barbie). Barbiecore, Cutie Reveal, Dreamhouse and many Chinese translations of such (incl Barbie snacks, Barbie food etc) are also protected in China.

The Barbie trademarks in China thus seem well protected.

The Barbie-pink colour might be hard to get registered for China, as China would require a colour combination, instead of one single colour, to form a registrable trademark. Even so, as the Barbie trademark seems to be well-known in China, the Barbie-pink colour could definitely be used in anti-unfair competition cases that copy the look and feel of the Barbie-packaging, including the Barbie-pink.

But what about Ken?

Not surprisingly Ken is minimally protected. Much to our surprise, Kenough or I am Kenough., seem not to be registered in China, even though this has become a popular name or phrase on clothing merchandise.

A simple search on Chinese e-commerce platforms for clothing related to Kenough, reveals many Kenough outfits. Hence, this could be an area where Mattel could do more IP protection IP-wise, i.e. registering these trademarks. That is, if the company wants it. After all, the movie has made it pretty clear: it's all about Barbie, not Ken.

'Kenough!' or protection by copyright?

The good news for Mattel is that the clothing that Ryan Gosling wears as Ken, with the wording in special font: I am Kenough, is protected in China under copyright.

It is protected from the moment of creation in accordance with the Berne-Convention. It would be good to obtain a copyright certificate for this, which turns around the burden of proof. As such, the other party would need to proof that Mattel does not own the copyright.

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