[UPDATED with $315 Mil Bond for Mattel:] Bratz Maker MGA's Total Take From Barbie Sugar Daddy Mattel? $310 Million
It's the latest twist in the trade secrets legal battle the makers of Barbie and Bratz dolls have been engaged in since 2004.
Carter, who recently ruled in favor of Bratz's MGA, gave Mattel until Tuesday to come up with the bond. An appeal, the judge said, could drag the case out another two or three years.
It's already cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Mattel remains committed to finding a resolution that allows us to conclude this litigation on terms that are reasonable and fair to Mattel," reads a statement from the El Segundo-based toy manufacturing giant.
UPDATE, AUG. 10, 9 A.M.: We told you in May that MGA Entertainment, which was victorious in its federal trade secrets case against Mattel, had proposed the Barbie-maker fork over $339 million to the Bratz manufacturer as compensation.
MGA came up only $29 million short of that recently when Judge David O. Carter awarded it $85 million in punitive damages and $2.5 million in fees and costs to go along with the $137 million in fees and costs Mattel was previously ordered to pay the smaller doll maker.
"Mattel asserted a copyright claim that was stunning in scope and unreasonable in relief it requested,'' Carter explained. "The claim imperiled . . . the only serious competitor Mattel had faced in the fashion doll market.''
UPDATE, MAY 25, 9:30 A.M.: Analysts agree that in the seven years since Barbie-maker Mattel first went after Bratz manufacturer MGA Entertainment in court, the smaller company's fortune dwindled while Mattel remained a toy industry giant.
MGA is hoping to retrieve $339 million of that fortune in Santa Ana's federal courthouse this week.
That's how much Judge David O. Carter is being asked to award the Van Nuys company in damages, restitution, attorney fees and other fees. It's also three times more than the $88.4 million in damages a jury ruled MGA is entitled to last month.
Mattel, which is based in El Segundo, obviously, does not agree with MGA's proposed inflation. Saying its copyright infringement claims were "objectively reasonable," Mattel maintains it should not have to reimburse MGA Entertainment for court and attorney fees.
A $177 million chunk sought by MGA for punitive damages is based on the jury agreeing Mattel misappropriated trade secrets by sneaking employees into showrooms with MGA products. The Mattel reps used phony business cards to pose as doll buyers. Mattel downplayed that Nixonian dirty trick in its May 13 response to MGA's award proposal.
"At issue in this case is, at most, a sneak peek at 26 toys displayed at six toy fairs over a six-year period," Mattel lawyers wrote. "No one died. No towns were lost. MGA suffered no actual injury and did not even claim at trial that it did."
Carter could rule on MGA's request this week.