Mattel sues makers of Bratz dolls for trade secret misappropriationNovember 27, 2006

Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie dolls, sued a former employee, Carter Bryant, for trade secret misappropriation in 2004. Now, Mattel is attempting to add MGA Entertainment, makers of the relatively new Bratz dolls, to the case. Mattel alleges that Mr. Bryant conceived of the Bratz doll design while working for Mattel, and therefore Mattel owns the rights to Bratz dolls. Mattel is also attempting to register several of Mr. Bryant’s drawings prepared during his Mattel employment with the copyright office that allegedly show dolls very similar to Bratz. This could potentially give Mattel a copyright infringement case against MGA once they are registered. While it is unclear how this case will be resolved, this lawsuit illustrates the types of issues that can arise when employees leave a company to work for a competitor. However, in most cases, the intellectual property allegedly taken by the employee doesn’t reach $2 billion in sales annually.

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