In the last, suspense-filled episode of this long-running (7 years) daytime legal soap opera, the jury had returned a verdict in favor of MGA, awarding it custody of the little Bratz and $88.4 million in damages (see previous blog posts Pass the Popcorn and Soap Opera Summary). In the closing moments of the show, Mattel, professing “disappointment” with the verdict, vowed to appeal. Keeping the tension high and setting the stage for the next episode, MGA filed a motion seeking the addition of punitive damages to the jury award, while Mattel sought to overturn that verdict by filing a motion for judgment as a matter of law.
Now, as the judge wrestles offstage with the competing motions, our next episode opens with MGA filing a motion for costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in its successful defense against Mattel’s theft of trade secret and copyright infringement claims – MGA avers that its insurance did not cover all of these expenses and it was compelled to spend an undisclosed, but substantial amount of its own money on its defense.
MGA initially supported its claim by averring that Mattel is known to be very litigious and was previously sanctioned by the courts in two other cases. MGA then went on to assert that, “in a stunning admission,” counsel for Mattel admitted that “Mattel never voluntarily produces anything – all discovery of Mattel must be conducted by court order.”
Having pointed out to the audience just who is the good guy and who is the villain, MGA reinforced its claim to the moral high ground by noting that its successful defense, “will allow it to keep marketing Bratz fashion dolls, accessories and related products, providing consumers with much-needed choice in the fashion doll market.” (We are not kidding about this).
Moreover, MGA is not merely seeking to protect every little girl’s Christmas dream, it is defending the copyright system. Its successful defense has “secured the public’s access to an original work of authorship and paved the way for future original compositions.’ (Apparently this is a hint that more Bratz are forthcoming).
Finally, in a last attempt to cover ALL audience demographics, MGA argued that it alone offered “a true multi-ethnic doll,” Barbie and Ken apparently being WASPS.
In closing, MGA estimated that Mattel had spend about $400 MILLION in the course of this program and intimated it deserved an award of a like amount. Wouldn’t it be nice to find THAT under your Christmas tree?