CBP seizes counterfeit Mattel Barbie dolls

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has intercepted more than 60,000 mermaid dolls on the grounds that they contravene trademarks held by Barbie manufacturer Mattel.

The dolls – seized by CBP officers in a rail container at International Falls Port of Entry on the Canadian border with Minnesota and en route to Ranier – carried copyright protected markings and had a retail value of around $600,000.

While the CBP doesn’t mention the brand owner in its news release, the dolls appear to be copies of the popular Barbie Mermaid series. It’s the second incident involving counterfeit Barbie dolls at International Falls in a matter of months – last September, the CBP seized another 3,000 dolls with a retail value of around $85,000.

“Counterfeiting adversely affects the ability of lawful copyright holders to profit from their original ideas,” said Anthony Jackson, International Falls Port Director.

“Counterfeiting also harms consumers because manufacturers of forged products have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products.”

While the counterfeits haven’t been fully analysed, there is a perennial risk that fake toys may be hazardous and not meet product safety standards. For example, dolls may be manufactured using plastics laced with phthalates – chemicals used to soften plastics that can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system.

The use of phthalates is tightly restricted from use in toys In Europe for example manufacturers must ensure their products contain no more than 0.1 per cent of these chemicals.

Main picture courtesy of isabellaquintana / Pixabay

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