Online Creations, parent company of content site Mac & Bumble, filed suit against Michelle McCurry and her company SW Fantasies on May 6 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia claiming McCurry breached her contract with the company by continuing to use the Barbie Griffin name outside the terms of her contract.
Legal documents obtained by XBiz state that Online Creations is claiming unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, dilution, and unjust enrichment.
Online Creations' attorney, Scott Fields of the National IP Rights Center, told XBiz that his client invented the Barbie Griffin character, which it typically does for its content personas. In May 2003, Online Creations paid McCurry to assume the part and created a product for the plaintiff to sell through the Internet and on DVDs. But in addition to her work with Online Creations, McCurry took the Barbie Griffin name and used it elsewhere.
"They had a contract with the girl saying they were going to take pictures and create a unique and novel presentation, a stage name, and she signed and was paid," Fields told XBiz.
Fields added that McCurry also works under several other aliases including her own name, but she was not allowed to use the Barbie Griffin name outside of the terms she had agreed to with Online Creations. The company also asserts that in using the trademarked name for other moneymaking and promotional purposes that McCurry diluted the distinctive quality of the Barbie Griffin trademark and tarnished the Mac & Bumble name brand.
In addition, Fields said, McCurry has filed a federal trademark application for the name, although XBiz was unable to confirm her application.
"The most important thing is to stop the infringement," Fields said. "Our client has dozens of models under contract and has spent considerable amount of money developing these personas. Hopefully she will come to her senses and settle the case."
Online Creations is looking for injunctive relief and damages.
McCurry was not available for comment at press time.