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Mattel threatens to appeal $310m Bratz ruling

14 august 2011, 17:44
Mattel toy. ©Reuters
Mattel toy. ©Reuters
US toy giant Mattel said Thursday it could appeal a California court ruling ordering the Barbie maker to pay nearly $310 million to a competitor in a long-running dispute over the Bratz doll, AFP reports.

Mattel said it had filed a notice of appeal that "preserves our right to appeal all of the decisions of the judge and jury in this case."

"Mattel remains committed to finding a resolution that allows us to conclude this litigation on terms that are reasonable and fair," it said.

A California federal judge last Thursday ordered Mattel to pay MGA $170 million in damages and nearly $140 million in legal and other fees in a dispute over ownership claims for the lucrative Bratz doll line aimed at young girls.

A jury had earlier this year already rejected copyright infringement claims by the maker of the world-famous Barbie doll against MGA Entertainment, and awarded MGA $88.4 million in damages.

Judge David Carter on Thursday lowered that award to $85 million, but then added an additional $85 million in punitive damages.

MGA Entertainment hailed the ruling and vowed to pursue an antitrust case against Mattel and its CEO Bob Eckert.

"We're confident that MGA will prevail," MGA attorney Jennifer Keller said Thursday.

"The jury made the right decision, and it was endorsed by one of the most respected and experienced trial judges on the federal bench. Mattel is only delaying the inevitable."

MGA launched Bratz dolls in June 2001 and they quickly became Barbie's top competitor, racking up more than $1 billion in annual sales and cutting into Mattel's market dominance.

Mattel has argued that Carter Bryant, Bratz's creator and a former Barbie designer, came up with the idea in 1999 during his second stint with the company and violated the terms of his employment by taking Bratz to MGA.

MGA has meanwhile accused Mattel of spying, including using false identification cards to enter the MGA premises to photograph its products without authorization.

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