Why Should Mattel Get Future Plans For New Bratz Dolls?

from the gross-injustice dept

Last year, we wrote about a somewhat horrific court ruling against MGA Entertainment, the makers of Bratz dolls, after getting sued by Mattel. If you don't follow the doll business, Bratz is really the first doll to successfully compete against the massively successful Barbie franchise in ages. However, the guy who came up with Bratz had worked at Mattel prior to going off on his own. Of course, this is the history of many different innovative companies. If you come up with a better idea while working at one company, it's a good thing that you can go off and build your own company. As we pointed out at the time, this is the story of plenty of successful tech companies. Steve Wozniak was at HP when he built the first Apple computer (and continued to work there for some time after Apple was moving forward). Robert Noyce helped found Fairchild (and later Intel) after growing frustrated at Shockley Transistor. Hell, William Shockley founded Shockley Transistor after feeling he didn't get enough respect at Bell Labs. Yet, here's a toy designer at Mattel who's entire operation is getting shut down because he came up with the idea while still employed at Mattel?

Even if you grant the somewhat troubling premise that the concept for the dolls was created at Mattel, at best you could make an argument that Mattel had some rights to an injunction and profits from the first generation of those dolls. Yet, the judge not only ruled that, but also that MGA had to give up all such dolls, and hand over all sorts of confidential info, including "all related products, designs, customer information and 'know-how' for a planned 2010 Bratz line." It's difficult to see any justification at all for forcing them to hand over future plans that had nothing to do with what the guy created while still at Mattel. MGA has now filed an emergency appeal, noting that if it does hand over such info and assets, it would have "devastating and irreversible consequences," which seems quite accurate. All in all, this seems like Mattel simply trying to stop competition, and it's a shame that the US court system seems to be helping.

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  1. identicon
    mandee, 13 Aug 2009 @ 9:38pm

    I am really sad that the bratz r going to be discontinued from mga. I went shopping the other day and saw the new moxie dolls and they just aren't as cute as the bratz were, but I know they had to completely change the look because of the lawsuit. I will never buy another barbie again. I grew up playing with barbies and looked forward to doing the same with my daughter one day but once she was old enough to play, barbie wasn't cute, pretty, or interesting anymore so we only bought a few but never really played with them too much. Barbies used to be so pretty and fun but now they changed to something else in an attempt to reinvent her and its just boring. At first I said NO to bratz b cuz they were too sexual looking, but later I noticed they started to dress them better and the video game came out where you can put on makeup and outfits and even go skating and be a fashion designer which was lots of fun to do with my daughter so we started buying them. They r much better and more creative than barbie. Mattel is being greedy and unreasonable and I think 90 million is good enough and that they should just let them continue making the dolls but maybe get some royalties if its true he was employed there when he created them but only if they've proven that he signed a contract agreeing to giving them only his ideas and only if the dolls he came up with there look like the ones hes making 2 day. If they look different then they should only be paid from what he got from the ones he sold that looked like the ones he thought of and drew while he was employed there. N E thing after that was what he created from thoughts he had later. Mattell is going to HAVE TO compromise on this to stay in business, especially concerning barbie, because lots of people are angry and will choose to not buy their version of bratz if they choose to make one, and if they dont make bratz, we'll be mad at them for being greedy and getting rid of bratz and we wont buy n e thing from them at all, especially barbies because everyone will see her as the enemy. At least with letting MGA keep bratz Mattell could still get $ and keep barbie going by appeasing angry bratz fans if they make a deal where they just get some royalties but MGA still gets to produce bratz

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