Jury rejects Mattel's Bratz doll copyright claim
Mattel claimed that the MGA Entertainment employee who designed the Bratz doll did so while employed at Mattel
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A jury awarded Mattel $100 million in 2008 and found that Bryant had developed the Bratz concept while with Mattel, but that verdict was overturned last year.Skip to next paragraph
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The doll line has been in limbo since then and retailers have been hesitant to stock it because of uncertainty about its fate, Larian said.
"Mattel killed the Bratz brand. It is never going to be the same level as it was before," Larian said.
"The retailers and licensees were afraid to buy the product — and for consumers it was out of sight, out of mind."
Whether or not Mattel ultimately appeals, Thursday's verdict could give new life to the Bratz brand, which is currently a shadow of its former self, industry analysts said.
"Retailers are probably going to be more willing to bring the doll in, and MGA is definitely going to be more willing to put resources behind it," he said.
He estimated Mattel has spent $400 million over six years on the litigation.
"In retrospect, it was a pretty bad business decision by management," Johnson said. "They wasted a ton of money."
MGA had also countersued Mattel for misappropriation of trade secrets for engaging in corporate espionage at toy fairs and conspiring to keep Bratz products off retail shelves.
Jurors found that Mattel stole 26 of the 114 trade secrets MGA listed, resulting in the $88.4 million in damages awarded to MGA.
Mattel won a minor point in the case when the jury found MGA and Larian interfered with Mattel's contractual relations with doll designer Bryant and assigned $10,000 in damages, divided between the company and the CEO. But those damages will likely be nullified because the jury also found that Mattel should have discovered the interference and lost a window to make the claim, attorneys said.
Mattel attorneys blamed Larian for poisoning the jury with his testimony, including statements he made that Mattel's lawsuit caused the stress that killed his father, and that doll designer Bryant had a stroke after a day of grueling testimony. That kind of testimony was not allowed in the 2008 trial, they said, and Mattel prevailed.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Carter tentatively rejected Mattel's motion for a mistrial because of Larian's testimony but opened the door for attorneys to argue their point in new filings before a May 24 hearing.
Larian said such comments were an insult to a "smart and hardworking jury."