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. icon
    Karen (profile), 2 Jun 2009 @ 8:02am

    Barbie/Bratz

    I've been a doll collector for a long time. I was never really aware of mattels history of sueing people till I got online. MGA doesn't appeart to be the first time has gone out of their way to use the legal system to their advantage.

    This case has really put a bad vibe to purchasing anything from mattel in future. I have Barbie and Bratz, the thing I have a issue with is MGA did things with Bratz that Mattel forgot to do with Barbie.

    The quality of the bratz and their accessories became far superior to what mattel was producing in their playline. Where barbie had cardboard accessories, Bratz came with handbags and backpacks that could really open, detailed outfits that were different and interesting.

    So, it was not just this Carter Bryant fellow that did all that. MGA too the time to make just a regular playline doll collectable, where mattel just threw in useless cardboard and uninteresting things with their playline dolls.

    Oh yes, you can buy a special edition barbie for more $$$$$ - but why are you going to spend more money when you can get a nice doll with cool accessories for $20?

    Mattel has gotten to a point of wanting to pump out the same glitter covered princess dolls in their playline.

    At some point between 2001 and 2009 they had something called "competition". They started to try different things, they started to try making better quality and more inventive things for Barbie.

    So in a lot of ways Bratz was making them better.

    Bratz came out in 2001 (if I remember right). Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the they started sueing in around 2004.

    I have a feeling, what probably happened is they didn't care originally. They figured the bratz would crash and burn, but then after a few years they realized Bratz was not crashing and burning but becoming pretty damn popular.

    This was not a case of OMG they stole our Dolls lets sue. Seems like to me it was more a case of OMG how can we kill these dolls.

    Between here and there you have me a former Barbie collector who will not be purchasing anything from mattel any longer. So maybe they think they've won. They can go on making a million dolls clad in 'pink', go on making glittering princess dolls in ugly dresses that have nothing interesting to offer and go on making dolls they call 'limited edition' or 'gold label' - but they will not be getting any $$$ out of me any longer.

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