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Judge allows Bratz doll sales to continue

January 08, 2009|Bloomberg News

MGA Entertainment Inc.'s Bratz dolls, which were found to infringe Mattel Inc.'s copyrights, can be sold this year, a federal judge ruled, modifying a decision that could have resulted in an earlier ban.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson in Riverside ruled Wednesday that retailers would be allowed to buy the spring and fall lines of the pouty, multiethnic dolls from MGA until Dec. 31, or from either Mattel or a court-appointed receiver if he awards them rights to the infringing Bratz products.

A Dec. 3 order prohibiting closely held MGA from making and selling the dolls was stayed, he said.

"This stay gives assurance to our retailers and licensees that business is back to normal with Bratz for 2009, and that all Bratz products may continue to be sold throughout the calendar year," MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said.

MGA still will appeal the decision and seek a stay until the appeal is decided, he said.

Larson's Dec. 3 order followed a jury verdict that a Mattel designer created the Bratz name and characters and secretly took the idea to MGA.

The judge initially stayed the ruling until after he rules on post-trial motions scheduled for Feb. 11. MGA last month argued that retailers couldn't wait until then to order 2009 dolls without worrying about a recall.

Larson also appointed a forensic auditor Wednesday to report on MGA's finances. His order said the report was to help him determine whether to grant a request by Mattel to have a receiver oversee Bratz sales.

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