BRATZ/BARBIE: Eckert takes the stand

Mattel CEO is the latest high profile figure to take the stand in the Bratz/Barbie trial.
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Responding to questioning Eckert said he saw no problem with recruiting executives from competitors, despite his company's claims that rival MGA improperly poached its employees to launch its Bratz doll line in 2001.

He also testified, at a federal trial over Mattel's claims that it owns Bratz, that he once said journalists were "sloppier, less professional, less moral, less caring, more biased, less honest about their mistakes" than in the 1980s.

That comment could undermine some of the evidence introduced by Mattel's lawyers from news accounts of the origins of Bratz.

Mattel accuses MGA of secretly buying the Bratz design from Mattel designer Carter Bryant and then trying to cover up his involvement by concocting false media accounts about who invented the doll after it became a best seller.

MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian testified earlier in the trial that he was misquoted in some of those accounts.

Eckert also testified that he believed "all of the dolls in the fashion doll category compete with one another" and later, that Mattel produces a line of dolls for Disney.

He said he had personally interviewed an executive to run Mattel's boys division twice while the man was still employed at Disney.

"Do you think it is wrong to recruit executives from competitive toy companies?" MGA attorney Thomas Nolan asked Eckert.

"No I don't think it is," he said.

Meanwhile, original drawings for Bratz dolls were made in a notebook the toy's designer used for banking transactions dated in 1999, when he was working for Mattel an expert witness testified.

Two drawings came from a notebook used by Carter Bryant in November 1999, Lloyd Cunningham, a forensic document examiner, testified. Bryant had said he made the sketches in August 1998, when he wasn't working for Mattel.

(Source: Reuters)

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