Mattel loses Bratz battle, must pay millions

The Bratz line, which has deeply hurt Barbie sales, does not belong to Mattel, a jury decides.

By Kim Peterson Apr 21, 2011 3:19PM
Barbie just can't catch a break when it comes to those sassy Bratz dolls.

Barbie maker Mattel (MAT) got smacked down by a federal jury today, and was ordered to pay $88.5 million to rival MGA Entertainment in a dispute over the Bratz line.

In what's being called a stunning decision, the jury told Mattel that it does not own the Bratz dolls. The legal battle has been going since 2004, and one analyst said today that Mattel's failure to settle was a "tremendously bad decision" by management.

Post continues after this news report about the jury's decision:
"It means they wasted $400 million or so of shareholder money to get zero return," the analyst told Reuters. Mattel shares dropped nearly 3% after the verdict, but later recovered to $26.68, down less than 1%.

At the heart of the case is Mattel's claim that Bratz creator Carter Bryant came up with the idea for the dolls while he was working at Mattel. Mattel also says MGA secretly conspired with Bryant to steal the idea. MGA countered that the Bratz concept came to Bryant while he was on an eight-month hiatus from Mattel. 

The verdict was a momentous victory for MGA after a prolonged legal scuffle that turned ugly. Mattel executives had described a "rival-led Barbie genocide" in one internal memo, according to The Associated Press. "This is war and sides must be taken: Barbie stands for good. All others stand for evil," the memo read.

MGA's chief executive, Isaac Larian, wept as the verdict was read while Mattel's chief executive leaned back in his chair and rubbed his forehead with his hand, The Los Angeles Times reports. "It very well shows that in America, even huge corporations are not above the law," Larian told Reuters.

The whole thing may sound a little silly, but there are billions at stake. MGA has sold more than $3.3 billion in Bratz products since the dolls debuted, reaping nearly $300 million in profits, the AP reported. Barbie profits sank by nearly $400 million in that period.

The jury's decision was a complete turnaround from the first trial between the companies, in 2008. At that time, a jury awarded Mattel $100 million in damages and told MGA to hand the Bratz line over to Mattel. But that jury verdict was overturned last year, and the issue went to federal court.

Now, the question is whether the Bratz dolls have survived all the years of turmoil. The legal issue made some retailers uneasy about committing to sell Bratz, and the fashion-doll category has changed over the years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Mattel killed the Bratz brand," MGA's Larian said. "It will never be the same level it was before."

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

135Comments
Apr 21, 2011 6:23PM
avatar
Maybe Mattel should come out with muffin top Barbie or rehab Barbie to keep their product aligned with the times...Smile
Apr 21, 2011 5:12PM
avatar

I can't imagine why they would even want to claim ownership of that line of dolls. (I thake that back, it's obvious...$$)

They are nothing but trash and encourage our baby girls to dress like sluts. I don't understand what is wrong with people these days! Why do we insist on allowing our children to skip their childhood and move straight to teenagers or adults?! I have never allowed these doll in my house and never will. They should all be in the garbage. Oh and if Matel has any sense they will stop turning Barbie into a tramp in order to compete. It's near impossible to find Barbie clothes that aren't mini-skirts or mid-drifts.

Apr 21, 2011 5:05PM
avatar
Never thought Mattel had much of a case, but I had hoped they'd win it. Bratz (and other similar dolls now) disgust me. They glamorize looking like an anorexic, skanky ghetto alien. Is this really what little girls should be shown as valuable in a woman?

I remember when they first had commercials for the those large Bratz Babies and right off the bat there was one in fishnets. What kind of adult comes up with that, and what kind actually sit in that meeting and agree that it's a great idea.


Yeah, Barbie isn't innocent either, but I question the mind of anyone who thinks adult suggestions on children is cute, including the fishnets on a doll depicting an infant.
Apr 21, 2011 4:52PM
avatar
I can't stand these stupid dolls!  I absolutely refuse to buy them for my children or anyone elses!  How can these be popular?  The dolls look like plastic surgery/Angelina Jolie nightmares!  Plus, their clothing looks trampier than Barbies' get-ups.
Apr 21, 2011 5:34PM
avatar
Who is the real winner - The lawyers of course.
Apr 21, 2011 8:32PM
avatar

I had to read the comments on here because I knew there would be controversy. I am a mom of two girls, and a college student studying sociology. I have always been uneasy about bratz dolls. I guess mostly because the very first time I saw them it was at target, I was about 13, and two boys about 7-10 picked up the doll and said, "I wonder what kind of panties she wears." After hearing that I went and looked at them and thought that they were pretty trashy. I understand completely that it is a parents role to teach a little girl self image and have a healthy sense of worth. And hats off to you that have successfully done that. But, what we have to recognize is the unhealthy image these dolls set for young boys and girls that maybe don't have such strong parents. You can argue that maybe they shouldn't have had kids, or whatever, but you have realize that is naive. The representation of a girl should be far from what barbie, bratz, Maybelline, victorias secret or what ever else feeds a childs brain. It is just scary to me that some people don't recognize the danger in having a doll that has a head to big for its body (which is a typical look for someone with an eating disorder), platform heels, skin tight or too short of dresses, and loads of make up. Sure not everyone has been affected by it, but by gloating that you haven't, you're technically a third party narcissist. Now with that please parent your children as you will, so long as you're not abusive its not for me to say whether it is wrong or right. But please with everything you do just try to think of the message it is sending, if you're doing it for yourself or for an image that has been media fed to you, and what people are capitalizing off of your money.

Apr 21, 2011 9:13PM
avatar
Who cares about mattel, they are a U.S. Corporation in name only. They walked away from the American worker and products made in the U.S. A. years ago in favor of windfall profits with manufacturing in China and Mexico. All of what Mattel makes is junk designed to get your money with no pride in quality or workmanship. They merely place an established old American name on the same foreign junk.
Apr 21, 2011 4:52PM
avatar

@ wow681 - This story was actually very easy to read, because it was written with proper English.

 

You must be used to reading the crap that's come along during the past 5-10 years - ie: techno-lingo.

 

It seems most people don't even understand how to form a sentence these days...all they know is u b noin bout nutin cuz da pc speek me dat chuiz so smat ya not noin nuttin

Apr 21, 2011 5:56PM
avatar
As my daughters tell me, these are only dolls.  Anyone that takes life or fashion queues from a doll has greater issues to deal with.  If someone spends their ire cursing a doll or categorizing and/or associating groups with a doll they have more social issues than can be discussed here.  If some is using a doll to denigrate others maybe it's time to look in the mirror.  If you don't like the doll don't buy it, not everyone likes the choices of others. Give the "holier than thou," "purer than the driven snow," "never commit a sin" routines a rest, everyone has their position, everyone has their view, after all this is only a doll and the right of a company to provide choice - stop getting so visceral, this is America, after all this is only a doll, not the revision of the constitution.  Watch your backyard first, teach your children well, good morals, how to be a citizen of the world and through natural attrition the things that aren't accepted as a whole will eventually wither away without spreading hate and vitriolic views around the world.
Apr 21, 2011 6:23PM
avatar
LMFAO ROTFL...too funny...Barbie just wasn't used to competition. Barbie will always be a classic, but Bratz is just another company trying to make that money and it works...let them be and leave them alone Mattel. It's up to the consumers what they want to purchase anyways.
Apr 21, 2011 9:09PM
avatar
This article is NOT about which doll "teaches" better morals or ethics it's about a huge company such as Mattel tried but did NOT succeed in stealing an idea from a smaller company. Those of you who are posting how horrible Bratz dolls are really putting waaaay too much pressure on these dolls to raise conscientious, moral young ladies. I think that is your job! These dolls do not come with a diary of beliefs each one shares the little girls that own these dolls use their imaginations to come up with storylines.
Apr 21, 2011 7:45PM
avatar
Any parent that feels a *doll*, a piece of plastic, can be a "role model" for a child - isn't a "parent" in my eyes at all.  They are DOLLS - just that.  My kids had both dolls lines - hell for that matter Disney's Tinkerbell is JUST as skimpy as the BRATz dolls.  The only person thinking about "sex" is the older, more adult person in the house.  The kids just want to play.  And now, my daughter's are pre-teens and guess what, I have the ability to look my child in the eyes and say - no, I will not buy you this, however, I will buy you that.  And they accept it.  They do not dress as tramps - it didn't "rub off".  Get over this please...........
Apr 21, 2011 5:47PM
avatar

Aren't they drag queens? Come on, have you ever seen the feet on those things?

Apr 21, 2011 8:08PM
avatar

When Bratz dolls first came out, some relative (on the OTHER side of the family) gave my daughter one for her birthday.  I took one look at it and threw it in the trash. 

Apr 21, 2011 8:50PM
avatar
Bratz dolls are just trash as far as I'm concerned. They promote a lack of self -respect. Why do they dress like that? They aren't doctors or lawyers like barbie, they aren't anything except doll forms of junk like Paris Hilton. I was glad when they pulled that junk off the shelf. But then they came back in another form such as Moxie girl and Liv dolls. I don't care that Mattel lost, the point is that those dolls only prove that females should be lame and nothing more than a shallow sense of self. Our society is dwindling into a bunch of a-moral, dumb, media addicted, low educated losers. Those dolls help that outlook. I know they are JUST dolls but it's the thought that comes with those pieces of plastic. Have some dignity people!
Apr 21, 2011 7:52PM
avatar
I have 3 daughters, and None of them will ever play with a doll that both represents and Promotes slutty behavior and dress. Our Duty as Parents is to keep them Safe and not let them behave as though they're supposed to tease and encourage boys to think of thier bodies as playthings. It's disgusting and for those who say "if you don't like it don't buy it", i think you need to reexamine your morals. It's not about race, it's about Behaviors. Bad behavior is what our society needs LESS of, not more. Courts don't matter as much as they used to, and liberals will always change and redefine to suit moods. Our duty lies in Protecting and Teaching our kids to promote Respect, Good Choices and Good Behavior. If you think it's about Race, then You're the one with the Issue-and i'll be happy when you step over the line to escort you to Tent City. Hint, Hint? LEO, baby!!
Apr 21, 2011 4:52PM
avatar
"Barbie Stands for Good."  Interesting comment since the doll, when she came out, was based on a sex doll sold to men in Europe.  Irony.
Apr 21, 2011 6:47PM
avatar

Barbie was a big part of my childhood...thank God I have a son who could care less about dolls because they have grown to be pretty tasteless.  I can't help but find it a little comical that some of the posts on here are so angry, but it's difficult to tell because most of the people ranting seem to have the education of a 3rd grader.

 

Apr 21, 2011 9:27PM
avatar
All of these comments are funny to me. Barbie has an unrealistic shape and she has skimpy outfits also. Barbie has been around a long time and thats why most people like Barbie. I love the Bratz, I think they connect well with todays youth. Also they are fun and thats what dolls are supposed to be about. Dolls are not what kids model themselves after its the kind of people that are in their lives parents, relatives, and friends. If a child dress trashy its not the fault of the doll they played with ,but the fault of their parents. Dolls are for play time and fun!
Apr 21, 2011 6:36PM
avatar
To these parents who are so concerned with these trashy dolls let me just ask one question?!?! Are your parenting skills not good enough to teach your child that this is a just doll (not a role model) and her clothes differ from your clothes and this is not how you dress? I'm sorry but it's YOUR responsibility to ensure YOUR child knows what is and what is not okay. If you are not able to keep your child uninfluenced by a doll then you won't be able to stop them from using drugs, alcohol, and having sex at a young age. I am sorry but to me it is very sad that one parent would judge another parent for a toy they purchase for their child. Will you ask the mom down the street if she has bratz dolls in her home prior to allowing a sleep over? I sure hope not!! Why would you spend time criticizing a DOLL, a piece of plastic... lets all grow up and hope for the sake of our children that they do too without passing judgment on a small child or anybody for that matter for the toys they played with or for the clothes they wear!!
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

MARKET UPDATE

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.
Market index data delayed by 15 minutes

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the ... More


Currencies

NAMELASTCHANGE% CHANGE
There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.