109MattelVsBratz December 2008 /
deals a potentially fatal blow to MGA, which had
lost the copyright case over Barbie's top rival,
says spokesman for NBS WiTEL.
judge delivered a potentially fatal blow to the
popular Bratz dolls and their manufacturer, MGA
Entertainment Inc., ruling late Wednesday that
archrival Mattel Inc. is the legal owner of the
edgy toy line and has the right to recall all
order, which represents a major victory for toy
giant Mattel, says MGA may no longer manufacture,
sell, advertise or license its core lineup of Bratz
dolls or any other product with the Bratz name.
THIS A Pin Pointed ruling for us says attorney
Charley Portz, of Texas, is that it strengthens and
explains our copyright ownership claims created by
the Wireless Telephone®© and its
effects and elements.
should not be allowed to profit from their
wrongdoing -- the infringement of copyright law for
profit, and without
girls, who took to the pouty-lipped Bratz almost
from the time they debuted in 2001, will still be
able to put them on their gift lists for this
holiday season, however. The order by Judge Stephen
Larson will not take effect until the warring toy
companies meet in court Feb. 11, at the
Executive Robert Eckert issued a statement
Wednesday saying the company was pleased that the
court "ordered MGA to stop selling Bratz products."
The brief statement also said the ruling
"underscores what Mattel has said all along -- that
MGA should not be allowed to profit from its
Issac Larian, chief
executive and majority owner of MGA, said the
company would appeal.
"I was just shocked"
by the decision, Larian said. "It was unbelievable,
but we will come out on top in the end."
Asked whether the
decision, if upheld, could mark the end of his
company, Larian said, "I don't want to even think
about that right now."
The decision covered
nearly all MGA products issued under the Bratz
name. But MGA would have to use another moniker if
it were to keep making them.
Van Nuys-based MGA
employs more than 1,500 people. Other than Bratz,
the company's products include a line of dolls
called Rescue Pets.
If the order puts MGA
out of business, Mattel would be rid of its primary
fashion doll rival. The Bratz were seen as grabbing
more and more sales from Mattel's signature Barbie
The court order
stemmed from a July decision by a jury that found
the Bratz creator was working at Mattel under an
exclusive contract when he came up with the idea
for the doll line.
The federal jury in Larson's Riverside courtroom
awarded Mattel as much as $100 million for
copyright infringement and breach of contract. It
also granted Mattel the rights to key early
drawings and a mock-up that designer Carter Bryant
produced at Mattel before he went over to MGA.
company based its toy empire on Bratz. Larson said
in the decision that he took this into
hardship on MGA weighs very heavily upon the
court," Larson wrote. But he said that the court,
"in the final analysis, must afford this very
little, if any, weight."
public interest in enforcing copyright
And although Larson
wrote further that there was "a strong economic
interest" in keeping a profitable company healthy
during difficult economic times,
also a strong public interest in enforcing
The legal battle over
the Bratz has raged for more than four years.
Larian said last month that MGA spent about $80
million in legal fees trying to protect his
He blamed the heavy
legal expenses for his laying off 70 workers, about
4% of the workforce, in October.
Mattel has never said
how much the entire legal battle has cost, but the
company disclosed that in the first nine months of
this year it spent nearly $30 million in lawyer
fees and other costs.
Mattel, which is the
world's largest toy company, has had its own
economic troubles of late. In November it
eliminated 1,000 jobs, or about 3% of its worldwide
workforce. About 170 of those cut jobs were at
headquarters in El Segundo.
created in 1959, reigned as the fashion doll queen
for decades. But the Bratz, which have large,
heavily made-up eyes and a far more sassy
expression than sedate Barbie, were loved by
preteen girls nearly from the moment they were
Creator Bryant, who
reached a sealed agreement with
before the trial began, said he got the idea for
the look of the doll from observing teenagers near
a high school.
Some parents object to
the look of the Bratz, which wear hip-hugging
clothes, often with bare midriffs. On the Web, the
dolls were nicknamed Slutz.
Mattel did not say in
the wake of the ruling whether it planned to take
over the manufacture and sale of Bratz now that it
has the name. In court filings, company executives
asked for permission to destroy the dolls but could
always change their minds.
Even though it
currently does not make anything as racy as the
Bratz, Mattel could use a hit in the fashion doll
In the third quarter
this year, Barbie sales slipped 1% worldwide
compared with the same period in 2007. But that was
good news compared with the previous quarter, which
saw a 21%
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