"This was a business move for Mattel," said Jack Lerner, a professor at USC Gould School of Law who specializes in intellectual property and has closely followed the case. "It wasn't necessarily an attempt to seek justice and compensation for being wronged. Mattel wanted to crush the competition. I think the jury saw through that. I think the jury saw Mattel as a big bully."
Mattel attorneys said after the verdict that they would file a motion for a retrial within two weeks and reserved the right to appeal.
Mattel's Chief Executive Officer Bob Eckert, who was present for the verdict, said in a statement the company was disappointed but was committed to protecting its intellectual property.
"Mattel's first priority is, and always has been, to make and sell the best toys in the world," the statement read.
The El Segundo-based company first sued in 2004, claiming Bratz designer Carter Bryant was working for Mattel when he did the initial concept sketches for the provocative, hip hop-inspired dolls with large eyes, heads, lips and feet, and tiny noses. The Bratz doll, introduced in 2001, was a blockbuster hit with "tweens," as Barbie sales declined.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages and the rights to the fashion doll were at stake in the acrimonious case, which was tremendously costly for both sides.
MGA's Chief Executive Officer, Isaac Larian, said he had spent as much as $170 million on legal fees, while analysts estimate Mattel's expenses at $400 million thus far.