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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July, 2004, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Artist 'ecstatic' over Barbie win
Barbie doll
Barbie split with boyfriend Ken earlier this year
A US artist who won a five-year legal battle with toy company Mattel Inc. over his photographs of Barbie dolls has spoken of his joy at the ruling.

Tom Forsythe said he was "amazed and ecstatic" at a court ruling last week that Mattel should reimburse the $1.8m (1m) he spent defending his work.

Mr Forsythe took photos of Barbie dolls in bizarre and often sexually provocative positions.

A Mattel spokeswoman said they would continue to defend Barbie copyright.

Forsythe said the ruling "sets a new standard for the ability to criticise popular brands and do so without the fear of being sued".

Long battle

US district judge Ronald Lew, in a written ruling earlier this week, said Mattel had forced Forsythe into a costly court battle.

Mattel first sued Mr Forsythe in 1999 and then appealed the original ruling.

The company lost the appeal in December last year.

Judges said at the time: "Mattel cannot use trademark laws to censor all parodies or satires which use its name."

The issue of costs was handed back to Judge Lew in Los Angeles, who awarded Mr Forsythe legal fees and court costs earlier this week.

Mr Forsythe's series of photographs, called Food Chain Barbie, included images of the plastic doll wrapped in a tortilla, covered in sauce and placed in an oven.

Sales down

"I wasn't expecting this work to even be that controversial. It started out as a riff on plasticisation, on crass consumerism, but when I started to work with the doll I added the dimension of the impossible beauty myth," Mr Forsythe said.

He also said that his photos were "not exactly jumping off the shelves" and that they had earned him about $6,000 (3,300) over the past five years.

Mattel said it had not decided whether to appeal the judge's decision.

US sales of Barbie fell 15% in the first quarter of this year, despite a February stunt which saw her "breaking up" with her suitor of 43 years, Ken.

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