January 2, 2009

Fate of Bratz in judge’s hands

A judge in California said he would decide the fate of Bratz dolls for 2009 after its maker, MGA Entertainment Inc. was found to have violated copyright laws.

The court ruled a Mattel Inc. employee designed Bratz dolls while working under an exclusivity clause. MGA must cede the product to Mattel sometime in 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

But, MGA Chief Executive Officer Isaac Larian said he was confident Judge Stephen Larson would allow MGA to manufacture and ship Bratz through 2009.

An abrupt switch of the Bratz product to Mattel could result in about 750 job losses at MGA, Larian said.

Analysts have estimated up to half of MGA's revenue comes from Bratz dolls.

Larson said an appeal of the ruling wouldn't stop the transfer process from continuing but he hasn't made a ruling on how the transfer should proceed.

Mattel lawyer Michael Zeller said, The judge's order makes apparent that he has not yet ruled on any issues relating to 2009, the Journal reported.

A ruling is expected Monday.