Tuesday, August 17, 2010

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Legal Battles

Barbie v. Bratz

Mattel, the creator and producer of Barbie and Ken has just been hit with a lawsuit. The toymaker was accused by MGA Entertainment of spying on other toy companies and stealing their trade secrets for their own market use. Allegedly, Mattel workers from their "market-intellegence group" even went so far as to print fake business cards to gain entry into competitors' showrooms, to note what was planned for upcoming release. The complaint, filed on Monday in Los Angeles, lists other competitors victim to the Mattel Masacre as Hasbro, Sony, and Lego.

Officials from Mattel quickly denied the charges and reason MGA is attempting to get back at the dollmaker for prior litigation over the Bratz line. This comes just about 1 month after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a lower court judge wrongly granted Mattel ownership of the $1 billion Bratz franchise. A former Mattel employee was claimed to have taken Mattel trade secrets when him upon leaving, and later created Bratz.

Researching the work of competitors is nothing new, but it appears MGA feels Mattel took it to a whole new level. In order to prove trade secret theft, the targeted company must first demonstrate the stolen information really was personally owned. Will MGA and the other companies be able to prove Barbie & Ken took what's really theirs?

Let's keep an eye on this one and see!

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