Monday, October 26, 2009

Barbie Gets Fangs: Movie Tie-In Toy Deals

Dear Rich: I am searching for samples of licensing agreements between a movie producer and toy manufacturer governing copyrights and trademarks used in movie "tie-in" products. Do you have any leads? The Dear Rich Staff assumes you're talking about a traditional movie tie-in toy product. For example, Mattel wants to sell more Barbie dolls so it creates a tie-in with a certain vampire movie, ("Mommy, why is Barbie wearing a garlic?"). 
Looking for Merchandise Agreements. Without reflecting on the pros and cons of these pre-landfill toy products -- the agreements that facilitate such deals are merchandising agreements built around a license to use the movie's copyrights and trademarks. You can see examples of a trademark license and a merchandise license (with explanations) in our book, Getting Permission
The Real Deal. If you'd like to see more detailed toy merchandise licenses, you might want to consider springing for License Agreements: Forms and Checklists, by Battersby & Grimes, the acknowledged leaders in toy licensing law. If that's too pricey, consider Contracts for the Film & Television Industry by Mark Litwak which provides sample agreements (and we'd also like to plug Clearance & Copyright by Michael C. Donaldson because it provides a good overview on the use of copyrights and trademarks in film). Check the TOCs for all these books online to make sure they include the right stuff. Also both of these books discuss product placements - sometimes part of the arrangement - in which the toy appears in the film