Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing

Mattel Moves for Everything

A little behind in my reporting on the Bratz case.  New reports are that Mattel filed a motion for a permanent injunction to enjoin MGA from making and selling Bratz dolls and from using the Bratz name and trademarks.

There are a slew of motions.  First for declaratory judgment:

[T]he Court should now issue a declaratory judgment pursuant to Mattel’s thirteenth claim for relief that Mattel owns all right, title and interest in and to the Bratz-related works, ideas and concepts the jury found Bryant had conceived or created while employed by Mattel, including the Bratz drawings, Bratz sculpts, the ideas for the Bratz characters and the name “Bratz.” Furthermore, the Court should declare that MGA does not have any rights in or to such works, ideas or concepts and that Bryant’s purported transfer of the rights to such matters to MGA was invalid and void ab initio. Finally, the Court should declare that all Bratz-related works Bryant created or conceived while employed at Mattel, and MGA’s copyright registrations of the Bratz works, are subject to a constructive trust in favor of Mattel. In the alternative, the Court should declare that those copyright registrations are invalid because MGA is not — and never was – the true owner of those works.

Brief here.  It refers only to the works the doll designer created while at Mattel, i.e., the “gen one” dolls, but there are also “gen two” dolls.  A motion for permanent injunction enjoining the manufacture of all dolls, gen one and gen two, was also filed: 

The only issue even arguably open to debate is the scope of the injunction. MGA all but concedes that the four Bratz dolls released in June 2001 are substantially similar to Mattel’s copyrighted works, but contends that no later Bratz dolls infringe. No such line can be drawn among the Bratz dolls. The original four dolls and all later dolls are based on the same sculpt – the sculpt that was developed from Mattel’s designs, and infringes Mattel’s copyrights in those designs. The infringing sculpt, which gives every core Bratz doll its unique look and feel, is still used for all Bratz dolls today. Accordingly, every one of those dolls necessarily bears substantial similarities to the elements of Mattel’s copyrighted works which this Court ruled are protectable.
MGA has made clear that it intends to continue to produce and sell infringing dolls in the future. . . . A permanent injunction against further infringement is required. 
Brief here.  A constructive trust for the trademarks under California law is another separate motion:
This Court should impose a constructive trust for Mattel’s benefit on the Bratz and Jade marks, order that the rights in the marks be transferred to Mattel and enjoin MGA from further use of the Bratz and Jade names and marks.
Brief here.  Finally, there was also an ex parte motion by Mattel (opposed by MGA) to expedite the hearing, currently scheduled for November 10.  Here’s the reason:
Mattel makes this Application on the grounds that the sale of infringing Bratz products during the holiday season poses an enormous, but largely unquantifiable, threat to Mattel’s holiday sales. The months of September, October, November, and December are the most important months of the year for Mattel. Mattel ships thousands upon thousands of toys to retailers during these four months, garnering the majority of its annual revenues in the process. The continued presence of infringing Bratz products on the market poses a significant threat of irreparable harm to Mattel’s sales during this crucial time of year.
Brief here.  MGA, outraged, says

[O]n the day when its papers were due, and the clock began ticking for MGA’s response, Mattel filed an ex parte application seeking to alter the schedule by slashing the time for MGA’s opposition to 11 days, enlarging the time for Mattel’s reply by three days, and cutting by two weeks the Court’s time to consider the papers on what could be the most important motion in this case. Mattel’s request, outrageous on its face, should be summarily rejected.

Opposition brief here. Somehow I expect we’ll still see Bratz dolls on the shelf at Christmas time.
© 2008 Pamela Chestek
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