July 06, 2015
July 05, 2015
Bratz-Mattel Doll Fight Ends Not with a Bang But a Whimper
We’ve covered this case, it seems, this the beginning of time. (See, for example, an earlier summary here.)
Now it looks to be all over.
A précis goes like this: designer leaves Mattel to go to MGA Entertainment where he designs the popular Bratz line of dolls. Mattell sues MGS for copyright infringement and gets a $100 million verdict and the rights to Bratz going forward.
The Ninth Circuit finds that amount excessive and sends the case back down to the trial court where the jury finds nothing for Mattel, but returns a $170 million verdict against Mattel on a counterclaim for theft of trade secrets, along with $137 million in attorneys’ fees.
Now the Ninth Circuit vacates that verdict, finding it time-barred. The attorneys’ fees, however, stick.
It’s time to find a cautionary tale here, but the case is so weird we may just need to chalk it up as a one-off.