Mattel Wins Copyright Battle

Aug. 27, 2008
Receives $100 million award

A U.S. jury has awarded Barbie-maker Mattel Inc. $100 million in damages in its copyright fight against MGA Entertainment, whose popular Bratz doll has given Barbie a run for her money.

The judge will have to decide on the final figure, but the California jury's verdict that was reached on August 26 is far below the $1.8 billion that Mattel had sought against the maker of the Bratz. Mattel indicated, however, that its legal battle may not be over. The verdict did not decide who has the right to make the Bratz doll.

"We have an obligation to our employees and to our shareholders to defend ourselves against competitors who engage in unfair business practices against us," Mattel chief executive Bob Eckert said.

"The jury's verdict is only one stage in deciding what relief Mattel will ultimately be entitled to for MGA's and (MGA boss Isaac) Larian's misconduct, and we will await the Court's final decisions on damages and other relief to which Mattel is entitled," Eckert said.

A jury had sided last month with Mattel, which says Bratz creator Carter Bryant designed the doll while he was still working for Mattel. Bryant entered into a contract with California-based MGA, licensing Bratz to them in September 2000, while he worked for Mattel, which he left one month later.

MGA launched Bratz dolls in June 2001 and they quickly became Barbie's top competitor, racking up more than one billion dollars in annual sales and cutting into Barbie's market dominance.

Mattel was founded in 1945 and manufactures and markets toys, games, dolls and other consumer products. Barbie is its most famous brand. MGA Entertainment is also a toy manufacturer. It has been around since 1979, and its best-known line is Bratz.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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