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A federal judge upheld a $100 million jury verdict

•  National News     updated  2009/04/26 09:06


A federal judge upheld a $100 million jury verdict Monday for Mattel Inc. in a lengthy legal battle over rights to the Bratz doll, a rival to Mattel's Barbie.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson also confirmed in his ruling late Monday that the Bratz doll — marketed by MGA Entertainment Inc. since 2001 — is Mattel property. He appointed a temporary federal receiver to take control of the Bratz brand and MGA's assets.

The receiver will decide who produces the doll and under what terms, but the order authorizes the receiver to maximize profits by "selling Bratz-branded dolls and other goods through appropriate channels of trade and distribution."

Mattel attorneys have said in court that the company is willing and able to produce Bratz dolls once receivership issues are sorted.

MGA President Isaac Larian said his company will appeal the ruling.

Mattel sued MGA in 2004, alleging that Bratz designer Carter Bryant developed the concept for the pouty-lipped doll while working for Mattel.

After a four-year legal dispute, a jury last year awarded Mattel $10 million for copyright infringement and $90 million for breach of contract.

After the verdict, Mattel sought to block MGA from ever making the Bratz dolls, and Larson ordered the company in December to end its sales in early 2009.

MGA argued that retailers would not order the toys unless the court could guarantee they would remain in stores through most of this year. MGA got a reprieve in January when Larson ruled that the dolls could remain in stores for the rest of the year.


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