Just when we thought that the long-running daytime legal soap opera, THE BRATZ, had come to an end, along comes one Bernard Belair to, as they say in Hollywood, “rescue the franchise.” Belair v. MGA Entertainment Inc. et al.
Mr. Belair has alleged that the Bratz dolls were improperly based on a series of drawings he had created for a third party. Apparently uncertain as to which of the two toy manufacturers would ultimately prevail in their litigation marathon, he sued both of them. (Mattel is the “et al.” in MGA Entertainment Inc. et al.)
Mattel, which had already seen its early win of $100 million replaced by a loss of $88.4 million – thank you very much C.A.F.C. – apparently has run out of patience. It filed a motion to dismiss Bernard’s suit, pointing out that his “central allegation is that the Bratz dolls infringe his works, but Mattel has never produced or sold the Bratz dolls.” Mattel also noted that the claims, which accrued more than a decade ago, were also barred by the three-year statute of limitations.
MGA, on its part, moved for summary judgment, arguing that there are distinct differences between Belair’s work and the little Bratz.
Meanwhile, MGA’s claims against Mattel for $177 million in punitive damages and attorney’s fees remain pending, which means that there will likely be still more episodes of this saga.