MGA Entertainment will face a transformed doll aisle as it attempts to rebuild its Bratz brand following its victory Thursday against Mattel in their long-running legal battle.
A decade ago the saucy dolls, with their pouty lips and skimpy attire, caused a sensation when they gave the classic Barbie doll a run for her money.
These days, Barbie is selling briskly, and new competitors and imitators have become hit toys.
MGA CEO Isaac Larian is unfazed by the proliferation of dolls that have sprung up over the past few years.
"There is a lot more competition now, but competition is good. Bratz has its own niche," he told The Associated Press. "We're going to put a lot of effort and resources to try to rebuild it and bring it back to glory."
Bratz have been in legal limbo since 2004, when Mattel first sued MGA, alleging that the creator of Bratz was working at Mattel when he came up with initial concept sketches for Bratz. On Thursday a jury rejected Mattel's claims and awarded MGA more than $88 million in a surprise verdict.
Mattel attorneys say they will file a motion for a retrial within two weeks and reserved the right to appeal, so it is not certain that the legal battle is over.
But the verdict will encourage MGA to put more dollars behind the brand and make retailers feel more comfortable restocking Bratz on store shelves.
MGA never stopped selling Bratz. It launched 10th anniversary dolls, made over with less makeup and ampler clothing, last year. This year, the company created two new lines: $19.99 Bratz All Glammed Up with styleable hair and $14.99 Bratz Rock dolls that come with their own musical instruments.
MGA said Friday that it will introduce Bratz Masquerade this fall, with four dolls that come with masks for both the doll and the doll's owner.
But the legal fight took a big toll on Bratz, which have been hard to find in stores.
"They have four feet (of shelf space) at Toys R Us where they used to have 40 feet," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson who estimates worldwide sales are under $50 million, down from $800 million at their peak.
Meanwhile, doll sales have been rising. U.S. sales totaled $2.77 billion in 2010, up 6 percent from 2009, according to research firm NPD Group. And what made Bratz so unique when they debuted _ a saucy, irreverent look _ has been incorporated in newer arrivals.
MGA itself has moved on from Bratz. It launched Moxie Girlz, a nice-girl version of Bratz, in 2009, the same year Canadian toy company Spin Master launched similar Liv Dolls.
Mattel, based in El Segundo, Calif., meanwhile, created a new line of dolls called Monster High, which each have a famous monster for a parent. They have Bratz-like insouciance along with dyed hair, gothic makeup and platform boots and have been a smash hit.
Sales of Barbie have surged, too, up 14 percent during Mattel's most recent quarter, the iconic doll's sixth consecutive quarter of sales growth.
Still, Johnson doesn't think Bratz dolls are down for the count.
"Things are different now," he said, but Bratz "might start to interest a new generation of girls."