Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trademarks: Barbie Beats Bratz

I do like a good trademark fight. The London Times Online reports Barbie triumphs over Bratz in court battle:

"An uneasy peace returned to the dolls' house this week after a prim and proper Barbie finally repelled a four-year siege by an unruly gang of gatecrashers called Yasmine, Chloe, Sasha and Jade.

In what could be the decisive blow in a multi-billion dollar legal battle, a California judge ordered MGA Entertainment to halt production of its Bratz dolls after a jury decided that they infringed copyrights owned by Mattel, owner of arch-rival Barbie."


“Mattel has established its exclusive rights to the Bratz drawings and the court has found that hundreds of the MGA products — including all the currently available core female fashion dolls Mattel was able to locate in the marketplace — infringe those rights,” Judge Larson said in the ruling.

He also ordered MGA to recall all Bratz dolls from toyshops and distributors but gave the manufacturer a seven-week grace period, allowing them to stay on the shelves over the crucial Christmas period.

The judge also ruled out the possibility of an arrangement whereby MGA might continue to produce Bratz dolls but pay a royalty to Mattel for using its copyright, a common solution in similar US intellectual property disputes.


In August, a court ruled that Carter Bryant, the creator of Bratz, came up with the concept while working for Mattel, where he was a Barbie designer.

A jury subsequently ruled that Mr Bryant had secretly sold the Bratz concept to MGA and the court awarded the majority of the rights to Mattel, with £100 million in damages.

What you done to protect your intellectual property? Think about the losses to MGA and ask if your company could survive this kind of loss. If not, get yourself to a lawyer ASAP.