Posted: 2:58 pm Friday, December 5th, 2008
By Allison Ross
The hugely-popular Bratz dolls — number four on the list of hot toys for girls this season — may disappear from shelves as soon as February, if Barbie’s Mattel Inc. has anything to say about it.
The dispute is over copyright infringement. Mattel says that the Bratz designer, who now works for MGA Entertainment Inc., developed the dolls while working for Mattel.
On Wednesday, after a four-year legal dispute, toy giant Mattel won a case against MGA Entertainment Inc. when a federal judge banned MGA from making or distributing its Bratz dolls.
According to the AP:
U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson rocked the toy industry with his order that MGA must immediately stop manufacturing Bratz. He allowed MGA to wait until the holiday season ends to remove the toys from store shelves.
The decision was a stunning defeat for MGA, which exploded onto the tween scene in 2001 with the edgy dolls and made hundreds of millions in profits, giving Mattel’s more classic doll-diva Barbie a run for her money.
The ruling, issued in federal court in Riverside, followed a jury’s finding that Bratz designer Carter Bryant developed the concept for the dolls while working for Mattel.
The same jury later awarded Mattel $10 million for copyright infringement and $90 million for breach of contract after a lengthy trial stemming from Mattel’s 2004 lawsuit ended in August.
But it’s not clear yet whether MGA will appeal the ruling. Those Bratz dolls are scrappers, after all.