Larian plays race card in last-ditch MGA appeal

MGA has made an emergency appeal to stop the transfer of its Bratz assets to Mattel, alleging racial discrimination.
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The firm asked a US appeals court on Tuesday to stop the transfer of its Bratz franchise to Mattel and to overturn a 2008 jury decision that it contends was tainted by racial discrimination against its Iranian-born chief executive, Isaac Larian.

MGA argues that the verdicts were a tainted by a juror who said during deliberations that her attorney husband had told her Iranians clients were "stubborn, rude ... and have stolen other person's (sic) ideas," the petition said.

The juror was removed but Larson rejected MGA's petition for a mistrial.

In the emergency appeal, MGA asked the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to nullify the wide-ranging injunction by Judge Stephen Larson that orders it to stop selling Bratz at the end of the year.

Larson also has ordered MGA to transfer to Mattel the Bratz trademark as well as all related products, designs, customer information for a planned 2010 Bratz line.

MGA said such a move would have "devastating and irreversible" consequences.

The petition contends that Larson went beyond the jury's intent in granting Mattel's demand that Bratz be removed from store shelves, and in the scope of the recall.

"The court also ordered perhaps the largest toy recall in US history," the petition said. "Come New Year's, MGA must impound and/or destroy all MGA Bratz products that remain on retailers' shelves."

The petition contends that Larson made "multiple stark errors of law," including an overbroad interpretation of a jury award of $10 million in damages related to the copyright infringement despite Mattel's demand for $1.4 billion.

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The Copyrights Group is one of the licensing arms within The Vivendi Group. Acquired by Vivendi in 2016 Copyrights manages the licensing for a portfolio of properties to include Paddington Bear. Some of the other companies within the Vivendi Group include Universal Music Group, and their licensing arm Bravado, Gameloft and Studiocanal to name a few.