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Mattel asks US court to stop sale of Bratz dolls

Bloomberg News / October 1, 2008
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LOS ANGELES - Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toy maker, asked a federal judge to order MGA Entertainment Inc. to stop making and selling Bratz dolls after a jury found that MGA was liable for copyright infringement.

Mattel, the El Segundo, Calif., maker of the Barbie doll, also asked for a court order prohibiting closely held MGA from using the Bratz name and trademark. US District Judge Stephen Larson is to hear arguments Nov. 10 on the requests, Mattel said.

"Mattel owns the copyrights in the original drawings, prototypes, and sculpts for the Bratz dolls, and we are asking the judge to stop MGA's further infringement," Mattel lawyer John Quinn said Monday in a statement.

A Riverside, Calif., jury in August awarded Mattel $100 million in copyright infringement and contract damages. Mattel had argued that the pouty and multiethnic Bratz dolls that MGA started selling in 2001 are substantially similar to drawings made by a former Barbie doll designer. The same jury found that designer Carter Bryant made the sketches when he was at Mattel in 1999 and 2000.

MGA disputed Mattel's infringement claims, saying Mattel failed to show any close similarity between Bryant's drawings and later-generation Bratz dolls and other products. Mattel had sought $1 billion in profits and interest from MGA. After the verdict, one of the jurors said they didn't want to punish MGA for developing the second generation of Bratz dolls.

"I am disappointed but not surprised at Mattel's actions here," Isaac Larian, MGA's chief executive, said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

MGA, based in Van Nuys, Calif., has said the jury awarded Mattel only $20 million because some of the state claims were duplicative, as they were based on the same damages theory. MGA attorney Craig Holden said after the verdict the company will appeal and ask the judge to reduce the damages.

In its request for a court order, Mattel argues that all generations of Bratz, not just the first four dolls, are based on the same sculpt and therefore infringe its copyrights.

Mattel rose 1 cent to $18.04 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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