Mattel Case Study

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In 2004, Mattel Inc. first filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming that its former employee, Carter Bryant, violated copyright infringement and breach of contract. Mattel is widely known for their popular Barbie dolls and MGA Entertainment have their Bratz dolls, which were the popular modernized Barbie in the 2000’s. In 2008, a federal jury ruled in favor of Mattel because they believed Mr. Bryant developed the concept of the Bratz doll while working at Mattel, then leaving and pitching his idea to MGA (“Barbie”). Mattel was awarded $100 million, however, the verdict was appealed resulting in a retrial. In 2010, MGA had counter-claimed arguing that Mattel misappropriated its trade secrets. A year later the court of appeals awarded MGA $85 million in damages along with attorneys’ fees and costs, totaling $310 million. Alex Kozinski, the Chief Judge in this case stated, “The jury rejected Mattel’s claim that MGA infringed Mattel’s copyrights by producing Bratz dolls. While Mattel doesn’t challenge that result…it does challenge the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees and costs to MGA under the Copyright Act.” MGA argued that the copyright holder has a right to keep their ideas to themselves without the employer’s knowledge. In November 2014, “Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue issued a written tentative ruling denying Mattel’s demurrer to MGA’s complaint, rejecting Mattel’s argument that MGA’s current suit is barred by res judicata”

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