Fatal blow for MGA in Bratz case?

A judge has ruled that Mattel is the legal owner of Bratz and has banned MGA from making and marketing the brand.
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A federal judge delivered a potentially fatal blow to MGA Entertainment ruling that Mattel is the legal owner of the line and has the right to recall all unsold Bratz.

The court order, which represents a major victory for Mattel, says MGA may no longer manufacture, sell, advertise or license its core lineup of Bratz dolls or any other product with the Bratz name.

The order by Judge Stephen Larson will not take effect until the warring toy companies meet in court February 11th, at the earliest.

Mattel Chief Executive Robert Eckert issued a statement saying the company was pleased that the court "ordered MGA to stop selling Bratz products." The brief statement also said the ruling "underscores what Mattel has said all along - that MGA should not be allowed to profit from its wrongdoing."

Issac Larian, chief executive and majority owner of MGA, said the company would appeal.

"I was just shocked" by the decision, Larian said. "It was unbelievable, but we will come out on top in the end."

Asked whether the decision, if upheld, could mark the end of his company, Larian said: "I don't want to even think about that right now."

The decision covered nearly all MGA products issued under the Bratz name. But MGA would have to use another moniker if it were to keep making them.

The court order stemmed from a July decision by a jury that found the Bratz creator was working at Mattel under an exclusive contract when he came up with the idea for the doll line.

The federal jury in Larson's Riverside courtroom awarded Mattel as much as $100 million for copyright infringement and breach of contract. It also granted Mattel the rights to key early drawings and a mock-up that designer Carter Bryant produced at Mattel before he went over to MGA.

Mattel did not say in the wake of the ruling whether it planned to take over the manufacture and sale of Bratz now that it has the name. In court filings, company executives asked for permission to destroy the dolls but could always change their minds.

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