Are You Ready For The Return Of Bratz Dolls?

After a 2008 court ruling found that the creator of the Bratz line of dolls had stolen the idea from Mattel (or rather, from himself, when he was working for Mattel), all Bratz products were supposed to be destroyed, and Mattel had the right to take over the brand and do whatever it wanted with it. A judge put the mass annihilation on hold, and today an appeals court overturned the initial ruling, meaning your local toy store may soon be carrying the next generation of the once-popular dolls.

In today’s decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco tossed out the previous court’s decision, saying the judge in that case had not instructed the jury properly. That leaves the door open for a retrial, something Mattel is already gearing up for: “We look forward to a full trial on all of Mattel’s claims against [Bratz-maker] MGA,” the company said in a statement. MGA is also gearing up — for its fall line of Bratz dolls:

“We always believed that in the end the right thing would happen,” said MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian, referring to Thursday’s ruling…

In anticipation of winning the appeal, Mr. Larian designed 10 new Bratz dolls, which will hit store shelves in October. Calling it a calculated gamble, he said, “If I had let Bratz die and they ruled in my favor, [the brand] would have been dead.”

MGA has spent $100 million on legal fees, and watched as its Bratz revenue dropped from over $1 billion to just $300 million — all of which is sitting in an escrow account that is off-limits until a final victor is declared in the case.

Maker of Bratz Doll Wins Appeal [WSJ.com]

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  1. bigTrue says:

    Oh good. I need an indicator on if somebody was a bad parent after the kids are too old to give crackers to in restaurants.

    • Draygonia says:

      Aren’t the people who make those dolls middle aged men that most likely have spoiled daughters and buy them everything? All while trying to come up with new and innovative ideas to make them more money because if they don’t, they won’t be able to keep up with their daughter’s spending (And their wives!).

  2. Mike says:

    I was pretty meh about this articles until I read:

    “Bratz revenue dropped from over $1 billion to just $300 million”

    One BILLION on these things? Really?

    Good Lord, and I thought $250 million spent at the box office one the last Twilight movie was bad. (Go team Jacob!) Really? A billion dollars?

    • rahntwo says:

      IIRC, there were TV cartoons, comic books, toys, Bratz clothing for girls(Ron sticks his finger down his throat at this one), McD toys, and alot more than I care to remember. Just what the world needs, more slutty brats to be examples for our new generation of girls. When our daughter recieved bratz gifts at birthdays and christmas we threw them in the trash in their presence after explaining why she didnt want to grow up to be a slut or a brat.

      • blueneon says:

        Just a thought, rather than throwing away a toy you could always give it to a shelter or another charity for underprivileged kids that don’t have toys, while still explaining the lesson to the child.

        • rahntwo says:

          Sorry, but those toys belong in the trash because they are trash, and they are designed to teach little girls to BE trash. I would no more give a bratz toy to a shelter than I would give spoiled food.
          Just another thought. : )

          • jamar0303 says:

            There’s always the recycle bin…

          • JulesNoctambule says:

            I find it amusing that you call a doll ‘trash’ and ‘slutty’ based on its appearance. Do the same to women?

          • Marshmelly says:

            Yes, they’re trashy dolls…but I feel like throwing out a bunch of brand new toys is a bit wasteful, despite how you might feel about their social implications. Perhaps asking the parents who bought it if they had a gift receipt (could even say that your child wanted a doll with a different hair color or something like that) and then returned it for a more appropriate toy would have been a better way to go? Even if you give it to a shelter, I’m sure there will be some little girl who would want to play with it. IMHO…If you’re instilling values and a strong idea of right and wrong in your child, I don’t think they are going to be easily influenced by a plastic doll.

      • Cyniconvention says:

        I commend you heartily, but a question; You tossed them in front of everyone, guests included?

      • Fidget says:

        I think the “Holy Crap” point came when they started the line of Bratz babies with Bratz animals…one of the end results being a tarted up infant with a bedazzled diaper who comes with a tarted up monkey and her own giant banana with a saddle on it.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      See? There are worse things in the world than Apple. ;-)

  3. smo0 says:

    Ugh, perfect message.
    My cousin was all over these dolls… I told her “why can’t you smoke marijuana like normal kids?”

    Don’t worry, she’s well beyond her years – and she giggled at the comment.

  4. pantheonoutcast says:

    I’m not sure I’m comfortable living in a country where people spent $1 billion on dolls dressed like underage hookers for their children.

    I guess it’s still better than Japan.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      There are many other countries that you can move to…

      And Barbie has dressed like a hooker on numerous occasions.

  5. DingoAndTheBaby says:

    And…my faith in humanity dies a little bit more. Not that there was much left, really.

    What parent thinks these are a good idea? I’ll admit that I don’t have kids, and am one of *those people* that will gladly provide advice on how to make your “precious little angel” (read: demon spawn) shut the hell up on a plane/train or in a movie theater. However, even us childless heathens can tell these are awful toys.

  6. StrangeEmily says:

    Everyone has a dumb reason for hating these dolls. For me, they look just like a group of girls who used to bully me in secondary school to the point i thought suidide would be better than facing them.
    Now they all work at Burger King or Macdonnalds, I used to have nightmares when i saw those dolls in stores, but after their absense I’ve felt a lot better.

    • Jeff_Number_3 says:

      That’s not a dumb reason for hating them. It’s pretty good IMO.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      I’m going to go ahead and guess that, if one was to take 1980’s comedies as gospel, you also grew up to be stunningly attractive and you now have a really cool motorcycle :)

  7. perfectly_cromulent says:

    weren’t these dolls at one point supposed to get a barbie-style makeover (to make them look more “real” to human standards/measurements)?

    either way, yuck. hated these things.

  8. Hoot says:

    All of these kinds of dolls have a demented body shape but at least Barbie doesn’t have a demented face.

  9. Joseph S Ragman says:

    They used to have two male Bratz dolls … I always thought they made a cute couple …

  10. DerangedHermit says:

    I can’t wait for their new teen line, Slutz.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I was interested in their “Grandparents” line, Fartz.

  11. Cantras says:

    Two good things happened with this line — one, enough of an outcry being raised that they changed their commercial to stop saying “Don’t theorize, accessorize!”
    and two, them being stopped. bleh on them being back.

  12. funeral blue analysis says:

    As for this article – it’s good to know that manufacturing of these dolls goes to the rightful owner.

    As for the dolls – Looks could be deceiving. Bratz may look like bad, mean girls, but if you watch their movie (non-animated), you’ll find the girls quite interesting. I think they’re simply cool in their own way/looks.

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  13. Abradax says:

    When people ask what my girls want for Christmas/Birthday, we always say any doll but a Bratz.

  14. eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

    I was wondering where these adorable little whores had gone!

  15. Bativac says:

    This was an interesting story, to me, anyway. I’m a freelance illustrator, but I’ve worked for companies in the past. I’ve always drawn and designed stuff on my own time while working for those companies. This guy did the same thing, only his employer at the time (Mattel) is claiming they are the legal owners of the Bratz concept, as the designer worked form them when he came up with the idea.

    I’m eager to see how the case turns out (regardless of what I think of the actual product). Does the company own you even when you step foot outside company walls?

    • FatLynn says:

      Mattel is arguing that the designer had access to things like market research that Mattel owned. This is a pretty legitimate argument, given that he was working on designing dolls at the time.

      For your own purposes, ask yourself if your outside work is somehow enhanced by your employment. If the answer is yes, you may have some trouble.

    • queenofdenial says:

      When I worked for Mattel (in a customer service aspect) you signed a confidentiality agreement as well as a creative agreement. Any designs you came up with in their employ were their property.

    • erinpac says:

      You invariably sign agreements when working exclusively for a company that more or less give them everything you make even a little bit related to what you do for them for X time.

      If you’re freelance, you are probably on a contract for an item rather than for all your creative production for that time.

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    How can you say this copies Mattel? It’s a doll. There are thousands of types of dolls, and just because both Bratz and Barbie are plastic and caucasian doesn’t make it copyright infrgineement.

    Wait a minute? Aren’t Bratz quasi-hispanic/ethnic? WTF Mattel?

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      The ban came about because the creator of Bratz came up with the idea and (possibly?) began developing them while he was an employee with Matel. In creative positions like that, there’s usually some legal language that runs along the lines of “If you come up with an idea on company time, it’s a company idea.”

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Wait.

      So not only are Bratz horrifically misogynistic, they’re also racist?

      AWESOME. I’m glad you alerted me to this. Yet another reason to hate. Hate leads to awesome.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        If you want me to be specific:
        Barbie has historically been a blonde, blue-eyed, cauasian-skinned doll. It was very much marketed as the doll that represented American girls (despite the biological impossibilities) and, for a long time, typical American culture. That culture has changed over time, but the market that Barbie targets has stayed roughly the same.

        Bratz clearly is designed to better represent the hispanic/latino/african american population of today’s culture, by way of certain facial features, skin color, and clothing choices.

        The dolls are very distinctly dissimilar, and marketed to different groups.

        I would never say Bratz is racist. I would say they are targeting a population group. It’s not racists to try to appeal to a specific group of people.

        My comment was to point out that the dolls are clearly different, and Mattel shouldn’t have grounds to claim copyright infringement just because they are both dolls made of plastic. I don’t see any good grounds for copyright issues.

  17. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Has anyone alerted Jezebel and Feministing about this? So many lulz to be had.

    And it would be a rare occasion where I’d agree with both of them almost without reservation.

    It would be glorious.