April 21, 2011

Bratz wins $88.4 million from Mattel... and Mattel started the legal battle.

Let this be a lesson to all you litigious people!
Mattel had argued that the dolls' designer Carter Bryant developed the Bratz concept while working for it in the late 1990s and secretly took the idea to MGA. MGA denied the claims and countersued, accusing Mattel of corporate espionage, using spies with fake business cards and dummy invoices to gain access to MGA's ideas. MGA also accused Mattel of threatening to scupper business deals with retailers and media firms if they did business with Bratz....
Hail, the countersuit! Let those who start lawsuits cringe!

Oh, Barbie! How far you have fallen:

DSC_0003

(That's my original Barbie doll, people. Bow down to the awesome Barbie!)

78 comments:

vbspurs said...

Oh, you have an original Japanese-eyes Barbie?? DAMN. You won't need to write those 100k law articles ever again!

The Crack Emcee said...

Fuck Barbie.

(Sorry, but I had to.)

vbspurs said...

Fuck Barbie.

Ken is anatomically-incorrect. Now what?

BTW, a Ken update from Wiki:

"In October 2009, Mattel announced a new Palm Beach line which included a Sugar Daddy Ken doll aimed for adult collectors. The said line will officially debut in the spring of 2010. The line proved to be controversial, because of Ken's suggestive-sounding name. The doll had a more mature appearance and came with a West Highland Terrier puppy. Mattel defended the doll's name, saying that the puppy's name is "Sugar", thus making Ken "Sugar's Daddy"."

Sugar Daddy Ken. LOL.

bagoh20 said...

Espionage with fake business documents for the design of a doll? Really? Nobody knows what a doll looks like? You gotta steal that information?

LawGirl said...

As a defense attorney, I <3 this.



Wv: hypersin. What I spent my college years doing. :-/

Cheryl said...

I'm still not letting my girls have Bratz.

Ron said...

Lawprof Barbie has a look of "cruel neutrality"

Kev said...

(the other kev)

So the whore dolls have nearly $90 million, now?

That buys a whole lot of crack.

er, no offense, Crack.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Like all girls of a certain age, I think Barbie needs to die.

mccullough said...

"Isaac Larian, chief executive of MGA, cried while listening to the verdicts."

Jason (the commenter) said...

That Barbie serial killer photo shoot they did would have been even more funny if the victims had been Bratz dolls!

edutcher said...

I would have thought Ann's doll would have been blonde.

PS I thought Ken was gay.

shiloh said...

Fuck Barbie.

(Sorry, but I had to.)


Many would stop at foreplay ...

Patrick said...

Jason, that was truly weird.

In Toy Story III, Ken seemed to be, at the very least, not in possession of the characteristics commonly associated with manly men.

David said...

One of the best moments in my legal career was when my client won a fairly large judgment in a counterclaim on a cogeneration facility contract case.

For cost and other reasons, I would never have advised my client to make the claim as a primary claim, even though it seemed to have some real merit. We tried to settle, but the plaintiff's CEO was a jerk, and he listened to some fancy lawyer from Washington who was an "expert" in energy law.

The fancy Washington lawyer treated my young female partner, a tiny soft spoken blonde who looked about age 24, with total contempt. They would not settle, and she tried the case before a judge in the UP of Michigan.

She won a verdict that exceeded $2 million with interest. The plaintiff's CEO ripped his phone out of the wall when he heard the verdict, and after they lost the appeal he fired the fancy Washington lawyer.

Titus said...

Could you pan down that pic so we can see hear tits.

Patrick said...

David, I agree, there is little more professionally satisfying than a solid verdict against an arrogant @#$@! attorney (usually from a big firm, but not always), especially when she has underestimated you because of your lack of an Ivy league pedigree.

Jason (the commenter) said...

shiloh: Many would stop at foreplay ...

You'd kind of have to. I mean, she doesn't have any holes unless you rip off her head.

Patrick said...

I'm guessing that wasn't an issue in the Barbie case.

WV: denya. First they underestimate you, denya sockit to 'em.

Titus said...

see her tits not hear tits.

tits

Jason (the commenter) said...

Titus: see her tits not hear tits.

What's the sound of one tit clapping?

Jason (the commenter) said...

I always thought his name was TI-tus, but it's just come to my attention that the correct pronunciation is Tit-us.

Michael said...

Is that Lazy Eye Barbie?

pbAndj said...

I don't think panning down will matter.

It looks like it's wearing a potato[e] sack w/ sheep skin collar. Not very revealing.

Titus said...

I am watching the GenieBra infomercial and getting a little hard.

Titus said...

Loved the Barbie murder photos Jason, thanks for sharing.

Love her poses and facial expression with the cute little head tilt.

Total Diva.

E.M. Davis said...

Your Barbie needs a comb-out.

Bart said...

What fascinates me is the degree to which the high-power folks continue to trip over basic demographics.

Millennial generation births peaked in 1991-'92. Girls' interest in such dolls peaks at age 11 to 14. The peak market for Bratz or Barbie was therefore going to be in the 2002 to 2006 era in any case. Remember when the suit was launched.

Why is anyone surprised that recent sales of the things are "lackluster"? The peak of that wave was about six years ago.

Those girls are getting ready to rent their first apartments. That's where the demographic money is, not in dolls. Not anymore.

And when they start to purchase starter homes in their early- to mid-30s -- about 2023 to 2026 -- you can expect the housing market (finally!) to begin a sustained recovery. And only then.

Demographics are a key predictor of the economy.

Quaestor said...

Titus wrote: see hear tits.

I know what tits look like, but I've never listened to them. Is this a new zen sutra?

Anga2010 said...

Your Barbie is cockeyed.

Original Mike said...

"...and Mattel started the legal battle."

Heh.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if the muckety-muck who suggested the lawsuit still works at Mattel.

David: That's a great story.

blake said...

It's like All About Eve in plastic!

Bruce Hayden said...

I saw this a bit ago: An 18in waist and size three feet: Former anorexic's life-sized Barbie reveals bizarre - and dangerous - proportions of famous doll:

She's been a favourite with young girls for decades. But a life-sized Barbie is being used to demonstrate just how unhealthy the doll's proportions would be on a real woman.

The mannequin, which stands 5ft 9in tall, has a 39in bust, a tiny 18in waist and 33in hips. Even her feet would be disproportionate, at a tiny U.S. size 3
.

A bit scary, though it appears that there is some debate as to Barbie's actual measurement, if she were life sized.

edutcher said...

E.M. Davis said...

Your Barbie needs a comb-out

It's the Liz Taylor look, from when she did The Sandpiper.

kimsch said...

My sister had the Barbies, but they thought Ken was a wimp and they dated my uncle's GI Joes - the ones with the fuzz hair and beards. (My uncle is 3-1/2 years older than me - so more like a cousin...)

I used to make my sister's Barbie's salads out of Brussels' Sprouts. They are *just* the right size for Barbie lettuce.

Sis had many Barbies, a couple of Kens, and Skipper, Barbie's little sister. She also had a "Growing Up Skipper". You'd swing her arms and she'd "grow" a half inch or so and get boobs.

ironrailsironweights said...

In the garden of Eden sat Adam,
Massaging the bust of his madam.
He chuckled with mirth,
For he knew that on Earth,
There were only two boobs ... and he had 'em.

Peter

David said...

Patrick, they didn't underestimate me. I didn't try cases, and there was a reason why I didn't. But they totally misunderestimated my young partner who (come to think of it) had a bit of a Barbie look in those days. (She would kick me in the shin for saying so,)

Beldar said...

Prof. A writes, "Let this be a lesson to all you litigious people!"

With respect, that's an overbroad target audience. In counterclaiming, MGA was also "litigious." Would they have filed their claims independently had they not first been sued by Mattel? That must remain a matter of speculation, but there is no doubt that MGA did, in fact, pursue its own litigation, which the result suggests was meritorious.

The case ought be an object lesson for those who both file unjustified lawsuits and engage in unethical and fraudulent business practices outside the courtroom.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

"A bit scary, though it appears that there is some debate as to Barbie's actual measurement, if she were life sized."

That's already been blogged here. Althouse had the insightful point that Barbie's dimensions have a lot to do with the fact cloth doesn't bend the same when it's the small size of Barbie clothes. She looks proportional when dressed, and only weirdos like Crack Emcee play with naked barbie dolls.

The Barbie dimensions are much less sinister than I had long though, apparently.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

Beldar, I speculate that MGA was less likely to sue Mattel had they not been sued.

Even if that's not the case, it's amusing that Mattel is engaged in awful practices and then having that turn their lawsuit on its head.

I'm amused at corporate espionage when most of these ideas seem to be dolls that produce liquid and dolls that look like prostitutes. It's not really that creative. They should take a page from Tom Hanks and just hire a greedy kid to think up a few dolls.

S said...

This reminds me, it's been a while since I reread "The Ransom of Red Chief".

vbspurs said...

Kimsch wrote:

Sis had many Barbies, a couple of Kens, and Skipper, Barbie's little sister.

I never knew Barbie had a sister! I had three Barbies. But then, I was an only child and needed the company.

PS: I also had a Stretch Armstrong, who I made Barbie "date".

kimsch said...

Victoria,

here's a video of how "growing up Skipper" *grows*

vbspurs said...

Kimsch, that is a RIOT. I was all like, how in God's green earth did Mattel come out with a booby-popping Barbie sister, and I didn't know about it? But it's just a trick with her "shoulder blades".

kimsch said...

There was that "pocket" too. You could get your child size fingers up under the rubber. I think my sis put some peas in there for implants once. She did have that funny line so bikinis were out and tankinis weren't even on the horizon yet. Tank suits only for Skipper.

vbspurs said...

Kimsch, the 60s and 70s were a great time for kid sisters in America, don't you think? First I Dream of Jeannie got one and then Bewitched. Both brunettes and therefore, both "the evil sister". I'm guessing Skipper (how Gilligan) was Barbie's wicked younger sister who gave blow jobs to Ken's Malibu beach pals.

kimsch said...

According to Wikipedia there were three haircolors available for Skipper, and she was 2 inches shorter than Barbie, but she changed as the years went by - she grew up...

Time for nighty night for me. I'll check the thread again in the morning.

vbspurs said...

...going to be a pretty busy Good Friday for me, what with Mass at 7:00PM-ish, and all, so if I'm not around, may all who celebrate it, have a blessed Good Friday.

kimsch said...

Back in the 70's there was also a doll called Baby Alive that was like a Betsy Wetsy but she'd also eat a jello like substance and "eliminate" that too. My sister's doll got somewhat constipated because she hadn't made the "food" with enough water and my dad had to ream the doll out with a coat hanger. Poor Baby Alive....

shiloh said...

Barbie's wicked younger sister who gave blow jobs to Ken's Malibu beach pals.

Love it when female conservatives :-P ... or liberals, talk dirty!

btw, the '60s were great period! Although, as Robin Williams said: If you remember the '60s, you weren't there.

cubanbob said...

Snark aside this case as obscure as it is may have a huge effect n the world of copyrights. The article was essentially crap but if the gist of it is that Mattel sued MGA for an infringement under the work for-hire rule then the 9th circuit has created a situation for the Supreme Court. If the idea-expression was conceived while the creator was employed by Mattel then Mattel is right. If indeed the creator created the expression while employed in that capacity by Mattel and the 9th told Mattel it has no right under work for hire then every copyright holder who has a copyright under work for hire is in deep do do. Maybe Beldar or Ann can think it through.

Methadras said...

I used to work in the toy and sporting goods industry years ago. The level of cheating, espionage, corporate thieving and secrets trading makes wall street insider trading look like a couple of school girls passing notes in classroom to each other about a boy.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

"If indeed the creator created the expression was employed by Mattel then Mattel is right. If indeed the creator created the expression while employed in that capacity by Mattel and the 9th told Mattel it has no right under work for hire then every copyright holder who has a copyright under work for hire is in deep do do"

The article indicates that the jury answered this question. Mattel can assert that someone came up with an idea before they left, but they would need to prove it. And if their proof is their dishonest employees who stole ideas and acted unethically, then the jury was smart to not that Mattel failed to prove their claim was true.

I do not think we have to worry about this contradiction. That's not a fact issue. The jury was almost certainly asked specifically to rule on the fact itself (was whoever employed by Mattel when they made the Bratz idea) and said no, that wasn't proven to preponderance.

Mattel just has no credibility.

vbspurs said...

Methadras wrote:

I used to work in the toy and sporting goods industry years ago. The level of cheating, espionage, corporate thieving and secrets trading makes wall street insider trading look like a couple of school girls passing notes in classroom to each other about a boy.

This reminded me of a book I once bought:

"Broker, trader, lawyer, spy: inside the secret world of corporate espionage" by Eamon Javers.

Google Book link.

The Nestlé versus Mars chocolate wars related in the chapter were a hoot.

cubanbob said...

The Grand Inquisitor said..

We are both surmising from a bad article. Mattel did win the first case. The 9th ruled on something and the case was retried. What is not know from the article was why Mattel won the first case, what the 9th ruled in that appeal and what were the facts that were allowed to be presented and jury instructions issued to the jury in the second.

"The article indicates that the jury answered this question. Mattel can assert that someone came up with an idea before they left, but they would need to prove it. And if their proof is their dishonest employees who stole ideas and acted unethically, then the jury was smart to not that Mattel failed to prove their claim was true."

If that someone was indeed on Mattel's payroll when the work was created (and employed in that capacity) then indeed it will be reheard again in the circuit court and probably in the SCOTUS. There is way too much money involved in the world of copyrights when it comes to work-for-hire and different circuits have different rulings.

Ryan said...

Its not simply whether they were an employee, but suture they were acting within the scope of employment. I believe the Mattel employee Carter Bryant was pn vacation at the time.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

"then indeed it will be reheard again in the circuit court and probably in the SCOTUS. "

You don't understand.

That's not a factual question, but a legal one. The jury wouldn't answer a question like that. they would answer whether or not Mattel proved the element of the tort.

"There is way too much money involved in the world of copyrights when it comes to work-for-hire and different circuits have different rulings."

Do you have an indication that this issue has been implicated in a controversial way? I think the jury simply found that Mattel failed to prove their facts, given their stunning lack of ethics and credibility.

I've read several other articles on the subject, and the behavior of Mattel is childish and extreme.

MGA claims that "Bryant first sketched the dolls in 1998, when he was living in Missouri and working at a clothing store then further developed the sketches on his own time and using his own materials." a year before the 1999 time Mattel claims Bryant made the designs for Mattel.

In other words, the scenario is not that Bryant made them while working for Mattel, but screw the law because we hate Mattel. It's that MGA's factual assertions contradict that idea entirely.

Largo said...

I was trying to find this the last time you mentioned Barbie. John Cleese.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me suggest that if the issue is copyright infringement, the problem is not when someone came up with the idea, but rather, when it was first fixed in a tangible medium. Copyright does not attach at the point of inspiration, as does patent (at least until patent "deform" legislation passes in the next month or two). Rather, it attaches at the time that the protectable expression is fixed in a tangible medium.

Of course, the 9th Circuit has always had an interesting take on copyright law, and so it rarely surprises me when they go against the rest of the Circuits.

Bruce Hayden said...

MGA claims that "Bryant first sketched the dolls in 1998, when he was living in Missouri and working at a clothing store then further developed the sketches on his own time and using his own materials." a year before the 1999 time Mattel claims Bryant made the designs for Mattel.

I would suggest that if this were the case, that Mattel would not have a very strong case.

Ut said...

There's no such thing as a brunette Barbie.

Fake imitation.

Bob_R said...

The toy industry is in the toilet and they are giving all their money to lawyers. Good work boys.

edutcher said...

Bob_R said...

The toy industry is in the toilet...

Largely because the Lefties have killed childhood.

(anytime The Blonde and I go into a store with toys, we always can't get over how much more fun toys were when we were kids and she knows why - electronics. Nowadays, the toys have all the fun)

Pogo said...

Businesses are one of capitalism's greatest gifts to the world.

The horrible narcissistic behavior, the corporate espionage, the mendacity, the subterfuge ...all would be channeled into something else were it not for the business world.

The Borgias demonstrates how these constant human traits mangled the Catholic Church. The Mafia is another example.

But when this involves nations, the outcomes are ugly indeed.

Imagine if Hitler had been a corporate titan instead of the leader of Germany. He'd be lauded rather than reviled.

Imagine if Obama were president of Mattel, beaming over his new line of green anti-oppression diversity toys ...that no one actually buys. He'd already be out on his ass, and no one would ever hear his name again.

Fernandinande said...

Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size

Freeman Hunt said...

Businesses are one of capitalism's greatest gifts to the world.

The horrible narcissistic behavior, the corporate espionage, the mendacity, the subterfuge ...all would be channeled into something else were it not for the business world. ...


Well put.

SeanF said...

Is it just me, or does Ann's Barbie doll look exactly like Debi Mazar?

Carol_Herman said...

The "score" is One Win, and One Loss (on retrial), for Mattel. So they spent $400,000,000 ??? The threat of another toy company was bigger. They went nuclear.

Chaos on the battlefield? "Bratz" was a one-time wonder. And, is sold at discount, now.

Mattel saved it's stinking barbie franchise ... since no matter what ... these dolls will be traded. (It's like a Marilyn Monroe label, where little girls dream of wearing bras some day. And, having handsome boyfriends. Before reality kicks in.)

When I was young I preferred the dolls that pee'd.

By the way, when did it become something an old company could do to you ... if you were unhappy enough at work to want to go elsewhere? And, to know your value even if the old company wasn't gonna pay you for your ideas? Since when can you successfully sue for someone else's ideas? (I guess when the supreme'o's add to Kelo. And, say so.)

vbspurs said...

Largo wrote:

I was trying to find this the last time you mentioned Barbie. John Cleese.

"John Cleese as Christopher, a man creepily obsessed with his daughter’s naked Barbie doll."

It was worth it, just to see 6'6 John Cleese's naked chest and wearing BVDs. Thanks!

Dody Jane said...

I wish I had my original Barbie - she looked like yours only mine was blonde. My brother decapitated her sometime in 1967.

Largo said...

@Pogo:

I second Freeman. Well put indeed.

@Victoria:

You're welcome! :)

(Later he finds her with Ken and exclaims: "Oh Barbie! Oh lost!" It's priceless! I wish I had found it all.)

Largo said...

Google Images is my friend!

[1]    -------[panties!]

[2]   Wilma, did you know this doll had "things"?

Cleese is a great subject, but the genius here is Terry Gilliam in his arrangement of each still shot, and his composition of the whole. Astonishingly good, and this is from 1965.

Largo said...

Persistence pays. Here is the whole thing:

Christopher's Punctured Romance

Enjoy it. I know I will!

The Crack Emcee said...

Damn it, who can I sue?

Jerub-Baal said...

Yes, unfortunately, the lives of dolls are fraught with legal conundrums....
for instance, this

Nuke Riding Cowboy said...

Good. I've been anti-Mattel ever since they sold poison toys, Congress passed the CPSIA in response, small businesses who had done nothing wrong got hurt, and Mattel got themselves exempt from the testing requirements. Couldn't happen to a more deserving company.

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