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Mattel Ordered by Judge to Pay $310 Million in Bratz vs. Barbie Legal Battle

August 15, 2011

Our Newport Beach, California employment lawyer blog recently discussed the long-running legal battle between California-based Mattel Inc., the world's largest toymaker, and MGA Entertainment, a small company responsible for making the line of Bratz dolls who was accused by Mattel in 2005 of stealing a key Mattel employee and intellectual property.

In a 2008 decision, MGA was reportedly ordered to pay Mattel $100 million, but a federal appeals court threw out the ruling out last year, stating that Mattel had not proven the copyright infringement claims.

The case became more complex when MGA then accused Mattel of misappropriating trade secrets about the Bratz doll line, and in April of this year, Mattel was found guilty of stealing trade secrets by a federal jury, wherein MGA Entertainment was awarded $88.5 million in damages, with the chance of receiving more monetary damage awards.

According to the Los Angeles Times, earlier this month, a federal judge demanded that Mattel compensate MGA Entertainment over $309 million in monetary damages and other costs and fees in the ongoing legal argument over the Bratz doll line. Mattel's request for a new trial was also rejected.

The decision, made by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, awarded MGA $85 million in punitive damages, reducing the jury's original $88.5 million award in April due to a mathematical error. The judge also awarded MGA $2.5 million in lawyer's costs and fees for its claims of trade secret theft against Mattel. MGA's chief executive, Isaac Larian, was also awarded $137.4 million in attorneys' fees and costs for having to defend his company against Mattel's original claims of copyright infringement, contractual relations and other copyright allegations--bringing the total award for MGA to $309.9 million.

In the original lawsuit, Mattel claimed that Bratz doll creator Carter Bryant came up with the Bratz doll idea in 1990 while he was still working for Mattel as a Barbie doll designer and violated his contract terms by taking the doll concept to MGA, who produced and marketed the doll franchise. Larian claimed in the lawsuit that Mattel used its financial heft as a company to bring down the first competition that the Barbie doll line had ever faced.

As the long-standing lawsuit dragged out, Mattel's motives were questioned, as MGA was nearly driven out of business. Larian claimed that the lawsuit damaged the Bratz doll brand by nearly $1 billion, and that MGA intended to go after Mattel with a separate and pending antitrust lawsuit, to regain those losses.

In Costa Mesa, California contact our team of employment and labor attorneys to find a solution for your employment issue.

Mattel must pay MGA $310 million in Bratz case, Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2011

Mattel suffers defeat in Bratz doll battle, Reuters, April 21, 2011

Barbie vs. Bratz: It's a Doll-Eat-Doll World, Time Magazine, April 22, 2011

Mattel Doesn't Own Sketches, Idea for MGA's Bratz, Jury Says, Bloomberg, April 21, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Mattel, Inc.

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