Mattel Could Use Time Defense in Epic Bratz Litigation

December 01, 2014

​Jedediah Wakefield, Fenwick & West litigation partner and chair of the trademark litigation group, was quoted by the Daily Journal in an article about the latest developments in the litigation saga between competing toy companies Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. over MGA's Bratz dolls.

Although MGA won a protracted dispute with Mattel in 2011 over rights to the dolls' design, MGA has reopened its claims for alleged theft of trade secrets, this time for $1 billion. MGA claims that Mattel sought to damage the Bratz brand and bolster Mattel's Barbie doll sales.

Mattel's motion to dismiss was denied recently by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, and if a third jury trial between the two companies goes ahead, the key question could be whether it is too late for MGA to proceed with allegations of trade secret theft that occurred between 1992 and 2009.

Asked by the Daily Journal to comment on the current lawsuit, Wakefield said, "MGA sees a potentially significant upside" in creating negative publicity for Mattel and attempting another trial victory. At the same time, he noted, "I'm not aware of another case where an ongoing pattern has been alleged. Usually the plaintiff figures out what has been going on and brings an action earlier."

The state court proceedings are not likely to mark the end of the story, Wakefield added. "I expect to see an appeal by somebody," he told the publication.