Rival toymakers Mattel Inc and MGA Entertainment Inc on Thursday brought to a close a nearly seven-week federal trial over which owns the $1 billion-plus Bratz doll franchise, handing the case over to a Riverside jury.

The central question before the nine-member jury is whether the creator of the multiethnic, big-headed Bratz dolls, Carter Bryant, made his original drawings while he was working as a Barbie designer at Mattel, or during an eight-month hiatus from the toy giant in 1998.

In closing arguments, Mattel attorneys said the evidence showed MGA executives bought Bryant's designs to bolster its weak toy offerings and then helped him hide the fact that he designed the Bratz dolls while he was under contract to Mattel in 1999.

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