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
    Tonni, 14 Nov 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Dolls of the American Worker

    Here we sit with American workers, families even, sitting in tent cities, and you all, very smart people really, have so over thought the problem that you have forgotten what we all came here to do. Discuss the creation of a toy a child could enjoy,perhaps even love,and create the toy using with any hope American labor and American stockholders using American people as customers. If we can't figure this out , how to work together than we are only making every country other than our own very profitable and at the cost of destroying the earth and our childrens health as other countries do not have to abide by health codes or enviormental codes so they don't. Nor do they pay their people enough to live so we get cheap crap that destroys the plant while it is being made by people being under paid, who have no rights. Our children end up with lead and choaking hazards and recalls and you all can't just say enough is enough, Buy your kids American toys, and here is the list, and while your at it, help come up with some knew ideas?Are you all really that shallow? The toys that have endured are the toys that the babyboomers played with, slinky, puzzzels, board games and yes...Barbie. The Bratz group is in every garage sale and still some how every little girl, grows up and passes the best of their Barbies down to their children. Legacy toys is what people should be looking for this Christmas and it just may be what we leave behind in changing our shopping habits and telling others to do the same, a national legacy even if her name is Barbie. Tonni/ Oklahoma

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