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Bratz Dolls and Barbie Duel in Court Remains Deadly

Updated on December 11, 2009

Bratz Dolls Avoid Death Sentence

 It sounds funny, I know. Girl's dolls and competition between the big two: Mattel, makers of the timeless and chic Barbie, and MGA, make of the more ethnic looking dolls, Bratz. Some parents will not buy Bratz dolls because, well, they look slutty, and seem to be aimed at the Hispanic population. Other parents do not find this to be true and view them as simply "cool" middle class looking dolls. Barbie is perfect and model like, you know, everyone loves Barbie.

In very recent courtroom drama, these two juggernauts of the toy industry fought a death duel over the dolls. It all began last year in a Riverside courtroom when Mattel was awarded $100 million in damages regarding the copyright infringement  and breach of contract. The Bratz doll's designer was a former employee of Mattel and under contract when he created the Bratz concept and doll design and then instead of Mattel having rights to it, he sold it them to MGA. This was direct violation  of the agreement the designer had signed regarding any inventions or designs that he created during employment with Mattel. Any such designs would be owned by Mattel (anyone in the IT world sees this clause all the time!).

Mattel won, obviously and the lower court instructed that MGA had to hand over the Bratz franchise to Mattel by Jan 2010 and destroy all remaining Bratz products by recalling them from all stores.

MGA appealed and won a stay of execution when that court suspended the order until it considers the concept about whether a company or corporation can own its employees ideas. MGA court costs cost $100 million and the Bratz lost popularity as fewer were produced. It is MGA's bread and butter and in 2005, earned them one billion dollars in revenue! Until the suit is final, all sales from the dolls go into an escrow account.

The decision will have far reaching results in the corporate world because most software and hardware corporations have identical clauses every employee must sign when they are hired regarding inventions, ideas, concepts etc.


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