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
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm of split mind on this

    lets take your idea and run with it.

    Tell me, what line of dolls did Mattel have him designing? Was it Barbie? If so, Bratz was not on the table and he is not obligated to share his personal endevors.

    I happen to work with for a datacenter company. Nothing says that I cannot take everything that I have learned over the years through all of my work experience and open my own datacenter. hell I used to work in the Callcenter industry and I have applied all I know from my experiences there to what I do now. Do I owe the former companies anything? hell no. it is called learning from other's mistakes and finding a better way of doing it: INNOVATION!!!

    Now, I am in no way a fan of Bratz, as a matter of fact, my daughter will never have one anywhere near her. It will end up in my chipper before I have a doll in my house that tries to make being ghetto cool. I do not condone any doll that looks like a hoochie mama hooker. No thanks. For the flamers, A suzie homemaker doll like Barbie is better than any bratz whore any day. I teach my daughter that self image is just that... just an image. No doll can harm her self image if she knows how she is supposed to be.

    As for the situation, the designer owes nothing to Mattel. He is has innovated and it has paid off. It is just unfortunate that he designed that crap. Regardless he is in the right. Mattel is just pissed that they have a competitor and that Barbie is not the queen bitch of the universe anymore.

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