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]