Mattel Inc. on Friday won a judge’s permission to proceed with copyright-infringement claims against MGA Entertainment Inc. and Carter Bryant, the designer of MGA’s Bratz dolls.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson, in an order filed in Riverside, agreed that Mattel’s 1999 agreement with Bryant, a former employee, wasn’t ambiguous and that the company could claim rights to work he did while at Mattel.
“The inventions agreement explicitly conveys to Mattel an employee’s interest in any copyrights or copyright applications,” Larson said in his ruling.
El Segundo-based Mattel claims that Bryant worked on the Bratz design in 2000 while at Mattel and secretly took the drawings to Van Nuys-based MGA. Sales of Mattel’s Barbie dolls have slumped since 2001 because many young girls prefer the multicultural and urban-style Bratz dolls.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin May 29. A verdict in Mattel’s favor will allow the company to seek damages at a later trial phase.