Did Bratz originate from ideas to update Barbie?
Mattel, manufacturers of Barbie dolls, certainly thought so. They sued MGA Entertainment, manufacturers of Bratz, for stealing the idea for the popular Bratz doll by hiring former Mattel employee Carter Bryant to access confidential information.
Mattel claimed that it had sketches of the Bratz dolls produced by Bryant in 1999 before he left Mattel for MGA. Mattel also claimed that Bryant had been giving ideas for Bratz to MGA while he was still working for Mattel, breaching intellectual property rights.
The court agreed with Mattel. As a general rule, product ideas created by employees are generally owned by their employer (I’ll write more about how this works and what employees need to know in future blog posts – subscribe if you want to find out).
But there’s a complication – MGA is now asking the court to declare a mistrial because a juror made racist slurs about its Iranian immigrant CEO Isaac Larian. The juror, who was dismissed for the slurs, said Iranians were “stubborn, rude” and “thieves” who have “stolen other person’s ideas.”