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Adler astronomer files trademark lawsuit against American Girl

Lucianne Walkowicz wants American Girl and its parent company, Mattel, to stop selling the Luciana Vega doll.

Astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz of National Geographic’s “Mars” attends the pre-reception at Cesca before National Geographic’s StarTalk With Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Live From The Beacon Theater on November 14, 2018 in New York City.
Adler astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz 
Getty

MADISON, Wis. — A Chicago astronomer has sued the maker of American Girl dolls, alleging the Wisconsin company stole her likeness and name to create its astronaut doll.

The federal trademark lawsuit filed in Madison this week by Lucianne Walkowicz asks American Girl and its parent company, Mattel, to stop selling the Luciana Vega doll, described as “an aspiring astronaut ready to take the next giant leap to Mars,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Walkowicz is a TED senior fellow at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, spent much of her career with NASA and has lectured extensively on Mars exploration.

American Girl media relations did not answer the phone during business hours seeking comment.

The lawsuit notes the doll has a purple streak in her hair and wears holographic shoes, just as Walkowicz does.

“Here, the defendants used the name and likeness of Lucianne, a well-known figure in astronomy, space and STEM, who particularly studied the star Vega, in conjunction with the American Girl doll Luciana Vega without obtaining her authorization,” the lawsuit states. “In fact, the defendants incorporated the same color hair streak, shoes and style of Lucianne in the Luciana Vega doll.”

Walkowicz is seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and other damages.

Walkowicz’s attorney, Charles Mudd Jr., said there have been unproductive discussions with Mattel about the matter. He said there’s no defense for the use of Walkowicz’s likeness without her authorization.

Luciana, an aspiring astronaut, was American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year.
Luciana, an aspiring astronaut, was American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year.
AmericanGirl.com