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MGA Wins $88.4 Million Award Against Mattel in Bratz Trial
http://goo.gl/uTudx


MGA Entertainment Inc. won an $88.4 million award against Mattel Inc. (MAT) from a jury that ruled MGA didn’t steal the idea for Bratz dolls from the rival toymaker or infringe its copyright.

The federal court jury in Santa Ana, California, found Mattel, the maker of the Barbie doll, liable for stealing closely held MGA’s trade secrets when its representatives used fake identities to gain access to MGA’s showrooms at toy fairs.

“I think this is really a great victory for all the entrepreneurs around the world, for MGA employees, for my family and more importantly, for all the immigrants who come to this country to pursue the American dream,” Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer of MGA, said after the verdict. “It also sends out a message to the multinational companies of the world that they won’t be allowed to bully us.”

Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Van Nuys, California-based MGA, said the company can seek punitive damages that may triple the award because the jury found Mattel’s conduct was “willful and malicious,” as well as attorney fees.

The jury rejected Mattel’s claim that MGA stole its trade secrets in 2000, when MGA made an agreement with Carter Bryant, the designer who Mattel says worked for it when he came up with the idea for Bratz and made the first sketches. It also rejected claims that the dolls MGA started selling in 2001 violated Mattel’s copyright.

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In the current trial, Mattel claimed lost profit of from $314 million to $544 million.

“We are disappointed by the verdict, but we remain committed to protecting the intellectual property that is at the heart of business success,” Mattel Chief Executive Officer Robert Eckert said in an e-mailed statement. “Mattel’s first priority is, and always has been, to make and sell the best toys in the world.”

The jury calculated a total of $88.5 million on MGA’s trade-secret claims. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said he may revise that amount because the total, based on 26 instances of trade-secret theft for which the jury awarded $3.4 million each, was $88.4 million.

Carter also said that one of the $3.4 million trade-secret theft findings appeared to be duplicative and that he probably will strike it.
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