MGA Entertainment Sees Accelerated Growth in 2012

MGA Entertainment, the largest privately held U.S. based toy company, posted 41 percent dollar growth in Q3 2012 versus a year-ago, according to The NPD Group.

Within the U.S., retailers continued to see explosive growth with Lalaloopsy, a global toy powerhouse driven by robust product, entertainment, and licensing programs.  Interest in the brand continues to develop as seen with the strong sales of Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Star: Harmony B Sharpthe first-ever talking, singing, and dancing Lalaloopsy doll.

This summer, MGA debuted Bratzillaz and Novi Stars.  Bratzillaz takes girls’ imagination on a supernatural flight of imagination to reveal their own special powers. Novi Stars combines cosmic adventure with cutting edge toy features never before seen in doll play.

Outside of girls’ toys, broader support for Little Tikes helped drive sales.  Little Tikes hottest retail sellers include Little Tikes Pillow Racers and iTikesa new line of pre-school toys that can be enhanced through the technology of Apple iDevices.

MGA Entertainment Sues Lady Gaga for $10 Million-Plus

MGA Entertainment filed a suit against Lady Gaga in New York City on Tuesday for more than $10 million, according to the Associated Press. MGA alleges that Gaga improperly backed out of a deal to make a doll in her likeness that would play snippets of her music. The company claims it paid a $1 million advance to Bravado International, the company that handles Gaga’s merchandizing, and spent a mint racing to meet deadlines to ship the dolls this summer. The plan was allegedly derailed when Bravado International refused to allow the dolls to use the singer’s music and attempted to delay sales of the doll until next year.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Toy Industry Foundation Celebrates “Christmas in July”

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) are showcasing a collection of toys and games that teach children about charity and social responsibility during a month-long “Christmas in July” media campaign.  The toys and games shown below were featured in a television segment that aired this week on “6 In the Mix” on WTVJ (NBC) Miami.

  • Hearts for Hearts, from Playmates Toys, features nine dolls from around the world that each have a story to share about female empowerment. Every doll purchased results in a donation to a program that helps girls around the world.
  • Wonder Glow Blocks, from Wonderworld Toys, are environmentally-friendly solid wood blocks that support a year-round program called the Tree Plus Project, a tree planting initiative.
  • Happy Nappers, from Jay at Play, are plush play pillows whose proceeds support the Home Sweet Home Fund benefitting the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.
  • Harness the Healing Power of Horses, from Breyer, are pink horses. $1 from the sale of each will go to two breast cancer research organizations: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  • True Hope Dolls, from MGA Entertainment, consist of three Bratz dolls that support young girls and boys who suffer from hair loss or who are watching loved ones lose their hair from cancer treatments. $1 for every doll sold supports cancer research, treatment, and education at City of Hope.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

MGA Entertainment Joins the Fight Against Cancer

True Hope Bratz and Moxie Girlz Dolls

MGA Entertainment announced its commitment and support to the fight against cancer by launching new hairless versions of its Bratz and Moxie Girlz doll brands. MGA will release three Bratz dolls (Cloe, Yasmin and Cameron) and three Moxie Girlz dolls (Avery, Sophina, and Jaxson).

Available at Toys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com beginning in June, MGA will donate $1 for every True Hope Bratz and Moxie Girlz doll, sold to distributors, to City of Hope for cancer research. The announcement comes on the heels of an ever-growing social media movement that calls for toymakers to create hairless dolls to emotionally comfort young girls and boys who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments.

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MGA Introduces Mini Lalaloopsy Dolls

MGA Entertainment has expanded its Lalaloopsy doll offering (formerly known as Bitty Buttons dolls) with the launch of Mini Lalaloopsy. Mini Lalaloopsy dolls come in their own collectible little houses, along with accessories such as Peanut’s Spinning Ferris Wheel, Pillow’s Sleepover Party, and Crumb’s Tea Party. The miniature versions—which fit in the palm of a hand—also come with a pet.

Lalaloopsy dolls are a collection of eight unique 13-inch rag dolls that have different personalities. Each doll was born on a special day in history and is fashioned in that theme; for instance, Crumbs Sugar Cookie was born on National Cookie Day and her clothes were made from pieces of a baking apron.

MGA Releases Statement About Ongoing Lawsuit with Mattel

MGA Entertainment has responded to a Mattel motion filed last night (Docket #8928) accusing MGA of additional wrongdoing:

“Mattel’s litany of lies in its ‘reply’ reveals the depths to which Mattel and its desperate lawyers will sink in order to deflect attention from MGA’s strong, written by Mattel, evidence discussed in recent hearings before the Court including: (1) Mattel’s how-to manual for sneaking into private showrooms at Toy Fairs, including tips on printing fake business cards and dummying up phony invoices for phony toy retailers and resale tax IDs for these phony retailers; and (2) a letter written by Mattel’s counsel in this same case while investigating MGA’s unfair competition claim that the Court recently stated on the record was sufficient to give rise to an inference that evidence had been deliberately suppressed by Mattel in this case.”

“We look forward to the trial in January 2011, when Mattel and the criminal activities of its executives will finally be exposed for the world to see and for MGA to be compensated for years of wrongs by Mattel.”

Update 2: Innovation First Responds to MGA Press Release

Innovation First CEO and President Tony Norman has responded to a press release by MGA Entertainment that was released earlier today. (To read the story, click here).

In his response, Norman countered MGA’s claims, stating “The intellectual property laws protect many different kinds of rights. The California lawsuit that MGA brought dealt with one set of rights, those that protect the outward appearance of a product. Our lawsuit deals with another set of rights, those that protect the engineering and design work that goes into making the product. Put simply, we haven’t accused them of copying our work in Art class; we’ve accused them of copying our work in Science.”

Update to Innovation First Lawsuit Against MGA

MGA Entertainment has responded to claims by Innovation First that allege MGA copied its Hexbug Nano line. In a press release, MGA stated that Innovation First has not served the company with a lawsuit. MGA is also stating that Innovation First admitted, as part of a sworn testimony last month to a federal judge in Los Angeles, that “the outward appearance of the current ‘Legend of Nara Battling Bugs’ toys from MGA . . . is substantially different from the outward appearance of the Hexbug Nano that the trade dress and copyright laws do not appear to be implicated.” MGA says that at the testimony Innovation First did not have any infringement claims against MGA’s Nara Bug. MGA is seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit.

MGA Sued for Allegedly Copying Innovation First’s Hexbug Nano

A lawsuit asserting claims for common law misappropriation and unjust enrichment was filed last week by Innovation First against MGA Entertainment, Inc. in the 354th Judicial District Court for Hunt County, Tex. The lawsuit accuses MGA of manufacturing, advertising, promoting, distributing, and/or selling products that were derived from innovative components of the Hexbug Nano micro robotic toy, created by Innovation First.

According to the lawsuit, MGA copied the Hexbug Nano’s motor assembly, components, housing, and legs, and is using them in the company’s Legend of Nara Battling Bug, in competition with Innovation First. The lawsuit seeks to recover any profits MGA has made or will make from the similar toy.

MGA Owns Bratz Brand, Says Appeals Court

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that MGA Entertainment is the owner of the Bratz brand, not Mattel. In a unanimous decision, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski spoke on behalf of the panel saying that “it is not equitable to transfer this billion dollar brand­­­––the value of which is overwhelmingly the results of MGA’s legitimate efforts” to Mattel. The 24-page opinion stated: “it’s likely that a significant portion––if not all––of the jury verdict and damage award should be vacated.”

MGA founder Isaac Larian said the company will re-launch a new line of Bratz products, as well as release new Moxie Girlz, Moxie Teenz, Bitty Buttons, and BFC, Ink products, this August.