Steffi Love scores court victory over Barbie

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 November 2004 , KARLSRUHE - Germany's high court has rejected a complaint by Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toymaker, alleging that a German dollmaker was illicitly copying Barbie playset themes. The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said Mattel had not come up with sufficient evidence to prove that the Simba Toys GmbH & Co. KG line of Steffi Love teen-fashion dolls featured playsets that infringed on Barbie doll playset copyrights. The sweeping ruling paves the way for Simba

4 November 2004

KARLSRUHE - Germany's high court has rejected a complaint by Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toymaker, alleging that a German dollmaker was illicitly copying Barbie playset themes.

The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said Mattel had not come up with sufficient evidence to prove that the Simba Toys GmbH & Co. KG line of Steffi Love teen-fashion dolls featured playsets that infringed on Barbie doll playset copyrights.

The sweeping ruling paves the way for Simba to seek millions of dollars in compensation from Mattel from restraining orders preventing Simba from marketing playsets that Mattel found objectionable.

Like her American cousin, Steffi Love pursues a number of diverse professions, including being a veterinarian, a fashion boutique owner and a chef.

However, Mattel could not prove that such play-line occupations were exclusive to Barbie, the court ruled.

Although Steffi and Barbie are about the same size and their clothes are interchangeable, the theme professions of Barbie playsets cannot be considered exclusive property of Mattel Inc., the court ruled.

Simba co-founder Michael Sieber welcomed the court decision.

"This is a landmark decision for the entire toy industry," said Sieber at the company's headquarters in the Bavarian toy manufacturing town of Fuerth outside Nuremberg.

"Any other decision would have be tantamount to condoning a Mattel monopoly," he added.

Simba, which has owned the Steffi Love doll line since 1989, says a Steffi Love doll or playset is bought every eight seconds somewhere in the world.

In Europe and Asia, Steffi Love is a serious rival to the Barbie line, whose dolls, apparel and playsets tend to be slightly more expensive than the Steffi Love lines.

Sieber co-founded Simba with his father 22 years ago. Still family-owned, the Simba-Dickie Group is best known in English-speaking markets for its popular line of Dickie remote-control cars along with its Evi and Madeleine dolls.

DPA

Subject: German news

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