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August 10, 2011
Big-Headed Dolls, Big Dollars Settlement
Earlier this week, Mattel got its proverbial ass handed to it in the long-running suit over the Bratz doll line
. My guess is that we'll now see a quick settlement with Mattel paying something significantly less than the USD 310 million that the judge ordered. This is a huge win for MGA, a small company that has nearly gone out of business fighting the protracted legal battle with Mattel, which doesn't like competitors to its flagship Barbie product line.
Mattel has all along claimed copyright infringement, and argued that the Bratz designs were, in effect, stolen by their creator Carter Bryant, who had worked for Mattel on the Barbie product. In fact, they won a first round (in 2008) and were awarded $100 million. However at the retrial Mattel came out on the losing side both in terms of its claims and also losing the contest over MGA's claims that Mattel had stolen trade secrets.
To add damages to damages, the judge then went on to award not only damages and attorney's fees in the trade secret theft issue but also $137 million in fees and costs for its protracted defense of the copyright infringement claims.
Given the size of these awards the lawyers must be absolutely salivating over MGA's announced intention to go after Mattel again on antitrust grounds. Clearly I am in the wrong business.
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