The Los Angeles Times has reported that a jury has sided with MGA Entertainment Inc. over Mattel Inc. in the retrial over who owns the rights to the billion-dollar Bratz franchise. The decision came this morning in federal court in Santa Ana, after eight days of jury deliberations and nearly three months of testimony.
The eight-person jury, made up of four men and four women, rejected Mattel’s copyright infringement claims; said Mattel did not own the rights to the dolls, early models, or accessories; and said MGA did not steal trade secrets. Awards of monetary damages in the case were read in court, including an $88.5 million dollar award based on MGA’s claims that Mattel stole trade secrets.
The decision was a major turnaround from the first trial in 2008, when a jury in Riverside sided with Mattel. The company, which had claimed copyright infringement and breach of contract, was awarded $100 million in damages; MGA was ordered to turn over the franchise to Mattel and stop making and selling Bratz products.
The 2008 jury decision was overturned last year by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that MGA deserved credit for manufacturing and marketing the dolls.