U.S. Judge Holds $100M Bratz Ruling for Mattel

April 28, 2009

A federal judge has refused to reduce the $100 million award a jury granted to Mattel Inc in the toymaker’s lawsuit against MGA Entertainment over the popular Bratz dolls.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson also barred MGA from making or selling the dolls by lifting a stay on his previous order. He also appointed a temporary receiver to oversee the Bratz business in an order issued Monday.

Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker, known for its iconic Barbie doll, won the rights to the $1 billion-plus Bratz franchise last year in a lawsuit against MGA and former Mattel Barbie designer Carter Bryant.

Bryant invented the Bratz concept while under contract to Mattel. A jury ruled that Bryant had secretly sold the concept to MGA.

MGA had argued that the jury’s monetary award of $100 million to Mattel actually was comprised of duplicate awards that should not be combined.

Larson dismissed that theory of the jury’s intentions as “purely speculative.”

“The jury’s verdict of $100 million is well within the range of possible awards based on the evidence of record, and therefore the Court must leave it undisturbed,” Larson wrote in the ruling.

Larson also ordered MGA to file a full accounting of all profits that have resulted from all sales of Bratz products covered by the lawsuit occurring after Aug. 26, 2008.

Last week, MGA CEO Isaac Larian said his company had proposed that Mattel pay MGA “way below $500 million” to settle the legal battle and let Mattel have the whole Bratz line.

That followed a comment by Mattel CEO Robert Eckert that he had not seen anything that led him to believe that MGA wanted to resolve the issue.

The case, Mattel Inc v. MGA Entertainment Inc, et al, 04-09049, in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Richard Chang)

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