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
    Chandra Kinkead-Bessette, 10 Jun 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Why? Because...

    Yes, Carter Bryant did work in the doll design division and he admitted to getting his ideas from Barbie. Also he created those designs for the "My Scene" collection originally, so yes Mattel does have a legal right to destroy these dolls(which my two older nieces have outgrown and my brother's kids are not allowed to play with, mercifully.), but that's not the point of my post.

    As an aunt, I have always been appalled by these dolls, which have promoted a selfish, consumerist "it's what's on the outside that matters, not on the inside" mentality and a boy-crazy, money-hungry attitude while telling impressionsble little girls that if they are not rich, thin or fashionable enough, they do not matter in the grand scheme of life.

    Thanks to these dolls, my oldest niece (who was an avid Bratz collector for 7 years) stands in front of her mirror for hours crying that her hair, body, and clothing aren't good enough and refuses to drink milk for fear of getting fat, so I'm glad they will be gone soon. Maybe this will be the catalyst for the next generation of girls to be something more than walking clothes hangers or playthings for boys at their schools.

    I'm no Barbie fan at all. In fact, I'd much rather my nieces have Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez dolls (girls who have acheived things on their own and do things the way THEY see fit.) than either Bratz or Barbie, but as that's not my call (that, and Selena Gomez dolls don't exist...yet), but since Barbie is the lesser of the two evils, you go Mattel!!!

    Maybe now we can have our ambitious, career-focused, can-do little girls back, instead of the vapid, fashion-and-makeup-crazed-boy-obsessed little "prostitots" that Bratz dolls have created.

    Why can't the toy industry create a few female dolls who defy gender steretoypes, such as heavy metal musicians, (I'm not talking musicians marketed to adults such as Angela Gossow or Alexis Brown, but I'd like to see some "kiddie metal dolls" with albums about following your dreams, doing well in school, doing your own thing, being a good person, not following peer pressure, etc instead of this "Bratz: Rock Angelz" and "Barbie Diaries" pablum that parents and other well-meaning adults so happily feed to the girls of the world), politicians, lawyers, artists, brain surgeons, pilots, mail carriers, construction workers, paramedics, college professors, journalists, disc jockeys,superheroes (no more Barbie dressed as Wonder Woman or Supergirl, as that is a slap in the face to those of us who looked up to these heroes as an anthesis to Barbie and Skipper as little girls.) a few wizards and dragonriders (no more cutesy, giggling pink dragons, please) for girls that love fantasy/sci-fi, instead of the usual teachers, nurses, fashion models, pop stars, veterinarians, mommies, baby doctors, pop stars, what have you. And everything DOES NOT have to be pink, purple, or white that comes with these dolls. They CAN and SHOULD be the actual real-life color of the item they are supposed to be.

    We should have higher hopes for the little girls of our generation than to see them grow up like supposed "role models" such as Barbie, Bratz, Lindsay Lohan, and Hilary Duff. What happened to Women's Liberation? Is it out of style because it isn't a group of vapid, giggling women bowing to men's every wish and want? Let's have a little more respect, ambition and dignity for our daughters, sisters, nieces and grandaughters and tell these toy companies what WE want, instead of them telling us.

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