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Hissy Fit: Mattel Ordered To Pay $309M In Bratz Doll Debacle

Photo by *Saffy* via Flickr
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Trade secrets. Hired gumshoes. Spying. Lying. Stealing. Millions of dollars. Dolls. Welcome to the ongoing battle of Barbie vs. Bratz, or, more legitimately, the war between MGA Entertainment and Mattel Inc. On Thursday, a federal judge ordered Mattel Inc. to pay MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $309 million "marking another tumultuous chapter in the years-long legal fight between the two companies over ownership of the lucrative Bratz fashion doll line," according to the Associated Press.

The judge's order marks the latest stunning reversal of fortune for the upstart MGA, which has been involved in a legal battle with Mattel since 2004 over who owns the Bratz doll. The dolls with pouty lips, hip hop-style clothing and oversized feet were aimed at "tweens," or girls ages 9 to 11, and flew off the shelves when they debuted in 2001.

The first lawsuit Mattel filed was in 2004 alleging Bratz designer Carter Bryant was employed at Mattel when he came up with the idea for Bratz. Mattel won, but the verdict was overturned on appeal and sent back for retrial. Second time around a jury rejected Mattel's claims and awarded MGA damages in a counter-claim about Mattel stealing trade secrets.