Mattel must post $315M while ruling on appeal

AP News
Posted: Aug 17, 2011 1:48 PM
Mattel must post $315M while ruling on appeal

A federal judge ordered toy giant Mattel Inc. to post a $315 million bond while it appeals a $310 million award to rival toymaker MGA Entertainment Inc. in a long-running legal dispute over who owns the copyright to the popular Bratz doll line.

In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter gave El Segundo-based Mattel until Aug. 23 to post the bond.

MGA had wanted Mattel to post an even higher amount as a guarantee it could pay the $310 million should it lose on appeal.

Earlier this month, Carter ordered Mattel to pay nearly $310 million in damages and attorney fees after a jury found in April that the company stole trade secrets from the Los Angeles-based MGA.

It was a surprising twist in the case, which originated in 2004 when Mattel first sued over ownership of MGA's flagship Bratz doll line. Mattel alleged that Bratz designer Carter Bryant had come up with the idea for the pouty-lipped, urban-inspired doll while working at Mattel and secretly took the idea to its rival.

A jury ruled in Mattel's favor after a first trial in 2008, but the case was overturned on appeal and sent back for retrial.

After a second trial, a new jury found in April that Mattel instead stole ideas from MGA and awarded more than $88 million in damages.

The judge reduced that award to $85 million but awarded an additional $85 million in punitive damages, as well as an additional $137 million in legal fees related to copyright and trade secrets issues involving MGA, its chief executive officer and a Hong Kong subsidiary.

In his order Tuesday, Carter estimated the case could continue another two to three years on appeal.

It has already been tremendously costly for both sides.

MGA Chief Executive Office Isaac Larian has said he has spent as much as $170 million on legal fees, while analysts estimated Mattel's legal fees at $400 million shortly after the verdict.