You might not realize that two of your favorite dolls locked in a pretty serious battle. Well, technically the fight is over, because a judge recently declared a winner. Bratz, it would seem, really belong to the company that makes Barbie
. Why? Because the man who invented the first four Bratz dolls worked for Barbieís Mattel when he was struck with the fashion inspiration. This makes his idea company property.
When you have a terrific idea, you want to show ownership of it. To do so, you register the idea with a copyright. There are copyrights all around us, youíll know them by the sign: © This means you canít take or copy the idea as it is owned by someone else.
In the case of Barbie and Bratz, there is a rule stating any related brilliant ideas of an employee belong to the employer in most cases. This means a brainstorm about a great new type of doll you happen to have while working to create other dolls technically should have been passed along at work and Mattel should have made Bratz alongside Barbie. This didnít happen obviously.
are worth about $250 million a year. Thatís a lot of money for sassy, urban dolls. Mattel has actually been losing money to the maker of Bratz because fewer Barbies are being sold thanks to the popularity of the Bratz dolls. As far as Mattel is concerned, a product being sold that should have been theirs was intolerable. If that product is hurting their main business, there are serious consequences.
Mattel took MGA Entertainment, the maker of Bratz, to court and after years of arguments, the courts agree that Mattel got the short end of the stick. Bratz should have been Barbieís sister, and now MGA Entertainment is going to pay the price. That price is $40 million as assigned by the courts.
The Real Result
The real sticking spot is what happens after the money changes hands. MGA Entertainment can probably pay the money, but if the four original dolls, Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin and Jade all belong to Mattel, where does that leave the Bratz dolls?
Only time will tell, of course, but most are assuming that MGA Entertainment will simply sell out the rest of the line to Mattel or have to make serious changes to stay in the market if they lose the most popular fashion dolls of our time to the competition.
You might be wondering what this has to do with you. It you happen to like Bratz dolls, plenty can change almost overnight. Right now the courts are still deciding who owns the dolls. If they stay where they are, itís likely youíll see a price change on your favorite products to make up the fine they have to pay Mattel. If, however, the judge takes a hard line, heíll give the entire business to Barbie, and Bratz as we know them might very well disappear.