Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprise Verdict in Barbie vs. Bratz Trial

In a surprising turn, Mattel must pay MGA $88.5 Million in Mattel's suit against the Bratz toymaker

From the LA Times:

"In siding with MGA Entertainment Inc. over rival Mattel Inc. in the retrial over who owns the rights to the billion-dollar Bratz doll franchise, a federal jury said the toy giant had not proved its allegations of copyright infringement.

What's more, some jurors said they sympathized with MGA's plight as a small company trying to compete with the industry behemoth.

"I don't think anyone should be able to bully someone and own everything," said juror Nadine Done, 22.
The eight-person jury unanimously rejected Mattel's copyright infringement claims; said Mattel did not own the rights to the dolls, early models or sketches; and said MGA did not steal trade secrets.

Instead, it found that Mattel had stolen trade secrets from MGA and owed MGA $88.5 million. MGA had accused its rival of stealing 114 trade secrets; the jury awarded damages on 26 of them...

...The decision was a major turnabout from the first trial in 2008, when a jury in Riverside awarded $100 million in damages to Mattel in the copyright infringement case; MGA was ordered to turn over the franchise to Mattel and stop making and selling Bratz products."
Also, The Google Image Search here is great :

Interestingly Enough, "Bratz Barbie" gives you higher listed images of active violence such as the above or this image and more sporty contexts, while "Barbie Bratz" tends to show images of catfighting. Catfighting obviously permeates throughout, but it's an interesting note.

Not Airbrushed
From Mattel's previous win in Appellate Court

If nothing else has come of this, the photo groups at a couple of newspapers had some fun with this one.

But don't fear, those of you who want to re imagine this court case in a Dino-Riders style battle royale (PLEASE do this, if you don't I may have to and I really don't have time to build that diorama) there's a really strong chance Mattel will appeal yet again.

Also from the LA Times:
"This time around, jurors heard not only the copyright claims but also accusations from each company that the other side stole trade secrets. Among its claims, MGA accused Mattel of sending employees into its showrooms at industry trade shows to spy on its products. It also said Mattel distributed an internal "how to steal" manual.
Mattel is expected to appeal the verdict if a new trial isn't declared, but toy analysts said doing so could hurt the company's reputation and urged Mattel to walk away.

"If they decide to appeal, I think their stock goes down. At this point everyone wants to move on," said Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital Markets. "The irony of the whole thing is Mattel brought this case seven years ago, spent about $400 million on it and what did they get in return? The right to pay Isaac Larian $89 million. That's pretty amazing."

Now that a verdict has been reached, the question remains over how viable the Bratz franchise is. Many worry that the brand may be irreparably damaged by years of litigation. On top of that, the fashion doll category has grown more competitive in the last decade, making a total comeback of Bratz unlikely.

Not surprisingly, the two sides blamed each other for Bratz's dwindling value.
"Larian has so lost his focus on his business — he's allowed this property to wither on the vine," Estrich said.

"Mattel killed the Bratz brand," Larian shot back. "It will never be the same level it was before."

No comments:

Post a Comment