081204-bratz-vlrg-6awidecMattel wins four-year legal dispute over saucy, popular dolls

NEW YORK – Pouty-lipped Bratz will stay on store shelves until after the holidays, but their fate after that — and that of their parent, MGA Entertainment Inc. — was uncertain Thursday after a federal court ruling banning MGA from making the saucy Barbie alternative….

“In the most dire scenario, MGA can’t sell Bratz at all and a humongous chunk of their business disappears,” said Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan. “But it’s likely they will work out a way for MGA to stay in business but Mattel to profit.” …

… The ruling, issued in a California federal court, followed a jury’s finding that Bratz designer Carter Bryant developed the concept for the dolls while working for Mattel. The same jury later awarded Mattel $10 million for copyright infringement and up to $90 million for breach of contract after a lengthy trial stemming from Mattel’s 2004 lawsuit ended in August.

The post-trial dispute that prompted Wednesday’s ruling centered on whether the jury found that only the first generation of Bratz dolls infringed on Mattel’s copyright or whether all the dolls in the line were in violation.

The jury verdict form asked panelists only to find whether there was infringement and assign a dollar reward,

but did not ask them to specify which dolls violated the law.

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