America’s trademark litigation gravy train – the Bratz / Barbie case is back!
A federal appeals court has ruled that Mattel Inc. doesn’t have to pay $172 million to MGA Entertainment Inc. to settle a trade secrets theft claim over Bratz dolls because a key claim should have been dismissed before trial.
The ruling filed Thursday by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest wrinkle in a bitter, protracted dispute between two Southland toy companies: El Segundo-based Mattel, the world’s No. 1 toy maker and owner of the Barbie empire, and Van Nuys-based MGA, a little-known company until it introduced Bratz in 2001.
Ok, don’t get too excited:
The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel found that MGA’s counter-claim accusing Mattel of misappropriating trade secrets was not related to an earlier trade secret allegation by Mattel and, therefore, could not be included in the lawsuit. The panel left open the possibility of a separate action on the claim.
Thursday’s ruling leaves MGA with an award of about $137 million, down from the original $310-million award the company received in a 2011 retrial.
It’s inspiring to the rest of us just to be allowed to peer in through the knotholes, believe me!
Oh, well, $137 million. That is less than half of $310 million, so I get why “MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said that the company ‘absolutely’ plans to bring another suit against Mattel for trade secret theft, although he declined to say when.”
Clearly no one in this case is “saying when.” Which we in the legal economy call “a win-win,” of course.