October 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Bratz dolls took the toy-making world by storm in 2001, replacing the formerly wildly popular Barbie doll as the top-selling fashion doll by 2006. Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie Dolls, alleged that MGA, the manufacturer of Bratz dolls, stole the idea for the dolls from Mattel. Mattel sued MGA, setting off a lengthy court battle over copyright infringement allegations. In 2011, a jury found that Mattel, not MGA, stole trade secrets and awarded MGA damages. Mattel has announced plans to appeal the copyright infringement finding.
Mattel originally sued MGA, the maker of Bratz dolls, in 2004 for copyright infringement. Mattel claimed that Bratz designer Carter Bryant was working for Mattel when he came up with the idea of Bratz dolls. In 2008, a federal jury awarded Mattel $100 million in damages for copyright infringement. MGA appealed the award and counter-sued.
After another trial, a jury found that MGA did not infringe on Mattel's copyright. Furthermore, the jury found Mattel stole 26 of 114 trade secrets that MGA listed in its counter-suit and awarded the company $85 million in damages. The judge presiding over the trial added an additional $85 million in punitive damages and $137 million in attorney fees and costs.
Not Challenging Copyright Infringement Finding
Representatives from Mattel announced its intention not to appeal the jury's finding that MGA did not infringe on Mattel's copyrights. Mattel stated that it disagreed with the jury's decision, but wanted to avoid another protracted trial on the issue. Mattel is, however, appealing the jury's finding that it stole trade secrets from MGA.
Trade Secret Law
Under the Uniform Trade Secret Act, which California has adopted, in order for information to constitute a trade secret it must:
-Have independent economic value to the owner by remaining secret
-Been subject to reasonable precautions to keep the information secret
Mattel will argue in its appeal that the statute of limitations had passed on MGA's claims and were therefore time-barred at the time of the counter-suit. Additionally, Mattel claims that MGA failed to provide sufficient evidence that the information listed in the counter-suit was actually protected as trade secrets.
Mattel also argued that the court abused its discretion and erred in calculating the attorney fees and punitive damages.
Contact an Attorney
Intellectual property disputes can often be complex. Individuals and companies with trade secrets or intellectual property to protect should seek the advice of an experienced business lawyer who can advise them about the best way to defend their hard work.
Article provided by William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law
Visit us at http://www.hanley-law.com---
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