As serious as this site looks, the attorneys at Robson & Robson do have a sense of humor – at least if having a sense of humor means laughing at our own jokes. We have collected some of our favorites.
life in plastic, it's fantastic.
In 1997, MCA records released "Barbie Girl" by the Danish-Norwegian group Aqua. The song portrays the classic character in a less than flattering light. When the song hit the Top 40, Mattel departed from its saccharin approch and filed suit.
The opening line of Judge KOZINSKI's 9th Circuit opinion gives you a flavor of the lawsuit: "If this were a sci-fi melodrama, it might be called Speech-Zilla meets Trademark Kong."
Unlike the parties, Judge KOZINSKI kept his humor to the last as he resolved MCA's defamation counter-claim:
After Mattel filed suit, Mattel and MCA employees traded barbs in the press. When an MCA spokeswoman noted that each album included a disclaimer saying that Barbie Girl was a "social commentary [that was] not created or approved by the makers of the doll," a Mattel representative responded by saying, "That's unacceptable.... It's akin to a bank robber handing a note of apology to a teller during a heist. [It n]either diminishes the severity of the crime, nor does it make it legal." He later characterized the song as a "theft" of "another company's property."
MCA filed a counterclaim for defamation based on the Mattel representative's use of the words "bank robber," "heist," "crime" and "theft." But all of these are variants of the invective most often hurled at accused infringers, namely "piracy." No one hearing this accusation understands intellectual property owners to be saying that infringers are nautical cutthroats with eyepatches and peg legs who board galleons to plunder cargo. In context, all these terms are nonactionable "rhetorical hyperbole," Gilbrook v. City of Westminster, 177 F.3d 839, 863 (9th Cir.1999). The parties are advised to chill."