Mattel's improbable win

MGA can no longer make those pouty and still-popular Bratz dolls. Well, at least that's according to a ruling last night by Riverside federal judge Stephen Larson. He ordered Van Nuys-based MGA to transfer all dolls to a location of Mattels choosing. That means Cloe, Yasmin, Sasha and Jade appear headed to El Segundo. This is a very broad and sweeping order, and the judge acknowledged that there was "a strong economic interest" in not ordering MGA to give up its most lucrative franchise. But he added that "there is also a strong public interest in enforcing copyright laws."

So what now? MGA will appeal of course (the order doesn't take effect until at least February, when the two parties meet in court). After that it'll likely go the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and after that who knows. Point is Mattel is quite a ways from taking possession. That said, it's hard to sugarcoat what was a resounding defeat for MGA. Keep in mind that the Bratz line accounts for between a third and half of the revenues that are generated by the company. In other words, a Bratz-less MGA is not likely to be around for the long term. Last summer, a jury awarded Mattel as much as $100 million in damages for the copyright violations. In case you forgot, all this centers on a designer who came up with the Bratz doll while still working at Mattel. (WSJ, LAT, LABJ)


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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
 
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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