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Judge Upholds $100M Verdict for Mattel

•  Headline Legal News     updated  2009/04/28 11:24


A federal judge upheld a $100 million jury verdict Monday for MattelInc. in a lengthy legal battle over rights to the Bratz doll, a rivalto Mattel's Barbie.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson also confirmed in his ruling lateMonday that the Bratz doll — marketed by MGA Entertainment Inc. since2001 — is Mattel property. He appointed a temporary federal receiver totake control of the Bratz brand and MGA's assets.

The receiver will decide who produces the doll and under what terms,but the order authorizes the receiver to maximize profits by "sellingBratz-branded dolls and other goods through appropriate channels oftrade and distribution."

Mattel attorneys have said in court that the company is willing andable to produce Bratz dolls once receivership issues are sorted.

MGA President Isaac Larian said his company will appeal the ruling.

Mattel sued MGA in 2004, alleging that Bratz designer Carter Bryantdeveloped the concept for the pouty-lipped doll while working forMattel.

After a four-year legal dispute, a jury last year awardedMattel $10 million for copyright infringement and $90 million forbreach of contract.

After the verdict, Mattel sought to block MGAfrom ever making the Bratz dolls, and Larson ordered the company inDecember to end its sales in early 2009.

MGA argued thatretailers would not order the toys unless the court could guaranteethey would remain in stores through most of this year. MGA got areprieve in January when Larson ruled that the dolls could remain instores for the rest of the year.

He left open the possibility that Mattel or a court-appointed receiver could ultimately market the dolls this year.

A hearing is scheduled for May 18 to discuss whether the receivership should be made permanent.




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