Mattel prevails in Bratz copyright trial
Jury rules toy maker owns original drawings for doll’s design
LOS ANGELES – Barbie and Bratz dolls are sisters, a jury has decided in a major victory to Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toymaker, in its copyright infringement lawsuit against rival MGA Entertainment Inc.
The federal jury decided Thursday that the designer of MGA’s Bratz characters conceived the idea for the dolls while working for Mattel — a ruling that could mean millions of dollars for the Barbie maker when the jury considers possible damages during a separate proceeding.
Mattel filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Riverside against MGA, which began marketing the hugely popular Bratz line of sassy urban dolls in 2001. Mattel has claimed it owned the rights to the Bratz line because its creator, Carter Bryant, came up with the concept while working for El Segundo-based Mattel.(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25727928/)
Someone I knew once was celebrating his little daughter’s birthday party. The adoring relatives and guests looked on as the birthday girl proceeded to open her birthday presents. But, as she tore the wrapping off of one particular gift, her father noticed that it was a BRATZ doll that someone had given his girl. Instantly the father tore it from the child’s hands, grumbling: “I don’t want this trash in this house!” and marched over to the nearest garbage can where he firmly deposited the offensive toy.
In the world of little girls’ toy dolls, there sometimes appears to be a “class” war between the images of the two main rivals. The always unnaturally beautiful, tall & thin BARBIE, and the BRATZ dolls who have been described by some as representing an image of “Ghetto Trash“. Could these plastic doll representations be mirroring any real-life cultural divisions within our own society? Are the adults reading too much into the doll’s imagery while the children choose these dolls simply because they’re cute? Do parents make conscious or subconscious attempts to mold their children’s taste to best represent their own values? Which doll then, would seem to represent the more harmful image to a young impressionable girl? I personally know many parents who seem to always be trying to create a “mini-me” when it comes to engineering their children’s tastes. But eventually they may have to face the fact that little “junior” is not going to like “Punk Rock”, or Hip-Hop or whatever the parents grew up liking when their child makes up his(her) own young mind about what cultural, or sub-cultural paths to take. There should always be enough parental guidance to steer kids away from obviously negative things, but I’d like to think that most parents will be accepting and embracing of their children’s future lifestyles, proudly and supportively, because their children could very well grow up to be Hippies, Vegetarians, Gays, whatever, there’s nothing wrong with kids finding themselves. I say, love your children and their good choices, even if they grow up to be (Gulp!) Republicans!