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Mattel wins dismissal in Bratz case

MGA Entertainment sued Mattel for antitrust violations

A judge in California Tuesday dismissed an antitrust case associated with the long-running IP battle between rival toy makers, Mattel and MGA Entertainment, over the Bratz fashion dolls.

The battle dates back eight years. In 2004, Mattel had sued MGA, accusing the company of stealing its trade secrets for the fashion doll after former Mattel employee and Barbie designer Carter Bryant, who created Bratz, joined MGA. In 2008, a jury awarded Mattel $100 million, but a federal appeals court overturned that ruling in 2010. MGA was victorious in the retrial in August 2011 when the judge awarded it $310 million, attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the long-running litigation. Mattel is currently appealing that ruling.

Separately, MGA sued Mattel, claiming it was violating antitrust laws by instituting a strategy to “litigate MGA to death” to ensure it lost its market share of fashion dolls.

"MGA's current and prior claims are the same," and the law "bars a later claim that is based on allegations of misconduct of which the claimant was previously aware and had alleged in the prior case," U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote in his decision. Carter dismissed the case with prejudice, therefore MGA may not bring it again.

Regardless, MGA plans to appeal. "The judge dismissed on a technicality," MGA CEO Isaac Larian said in a statement. "We will pursue Mattel accordingly until they stop their monopolistic behavior."

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Cathleen Flahardy

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