Wednesday, June 10, 2009
BRATZ Fire Back At Mattel
Here is an article about the latest shot fired in the ongoing dispute between Mattel Inc. and BRATZ-maker MGA over whether the BRATZ were stolen from the designs for Mattel's "Barbie" franchise. Last year Mattel won a judgment in court that established that BRATZ were based on designs created by a Mattel employee before he went to work for MGA. The court not only awarded money damages to Mattel, but it also eventually ordered MGA to start turning over the BRATZ inventory, trademarks, copyrights, etc. to Mattel. Now MGA has filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that argues that the judge has gone too far in transferring the BRATZ assets to Mattel. Why is this important? Aside from the significance of the monetary judgment awarded to Mattel, this case highlights how the courts have the power to transfer assets like inventory, trademarks, copyrights and patents when there has been an infringement. It also highlights how important it is to be absolutely clear with new employees that they are not bringing any of their former employer's intellectual property with them when they start their new job.