A federal judge has ordered Mattel Inc. to pay rival toymaker MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $309 million in the long-running battle over the Bratz fashion dolls.
In a final judgment filed Thursday in a Santa Ana federal court, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter denied Mattel’s request for a new trial and ordered the toy giant to pay $170 million in damages and $2.5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to MGA on its claims that Mattel misappropriated its trade secrets. MGA was also awarded $137 million in attorneys’ fees and costs for Mattel’s copyright infringement claims.
MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said in a statement that the judgment is a “step in the right direction to right the wrongs of Mattel’s criminal acts towards MGA.”
Mattel said in a statement that it’s disappointed with the court’s recent rulings.
“Mattel strongly believes that the outcome at the trial level is not supported by the evidence or the law,” said Mattel. “We will review the court’s rulings and evaluate our next steps. Additionally, we remain committed to finding a reasonable resolution to the litigation, and are focused on our primary goal – to make and sell great toys.”
Larian said in the statement that MGA is now pursuing an antitrust case against Mattel and Chief Executive Bob Eckert.
El Segundo’s Mattel sued Van Nuys’ MGA in 2004, claiming that Barbie designer Carter Bryant developed the concept for the Bratz dolls while he was working at Mattel in the late 1990s and then gave the concept to MGA.
In 2008, a federal jury in Riverside found in favor of Mattel. It awarded the company $100 million in damages, and the trial judge ordered MGA to turn over the Bratz franchise to Mattel. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the ruling in July last year, finding the decision to give Mattel ownership of the copyright was overly broad and that the judge erred in ruling Bryant’s employment agreement with Mattel covered his ideas.
A federal jury ruled in April of this year that MGA was the rightful owner of the Bratz dolls. During a second trial in the contentious dispute, a jury found that Mattel’s attorneys didn’t prove that Bryant created the dolls while he was at Mattel. Bryant has maintained that he created the idea and original drawings for Bratz in 1998, when he was living in Missouri with his parents.
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