Barbie doll maker Mattel has been awarded $100 million in damages by a jury after it concluded that the designer of the rival Bratz dolls created the popular figures while employed at Mattel.
The decision was seen as a disappointment for Mattel, which had sought up to $2 billion in punitive damages. The company's sales of Barbie have plunged some 21 per cent since the large-headed, multi-ethnic Bratz line became a hit.
The case turned on whether MGA owed damages for the entire line of Bratz dolls, or for just the first four dolls that designer Carter Bryant was believed to have created while working at Mattel.
Last month, the jury found that MGA had infringed Mattel's copyright. But it sided on Tuesday with the arguments of Bratz maker MGA that the company had built the doll's success based largely on branding, packaging and smart development decisions.
Still pending is the judge's decision on Mattel's request to stop MGA selling the Bratz line, which is estimated to earn the company some $1 billion in annual sales.
MGA attorney Thomas Nolan said the verdict was "a clear message that (the jury) wants these parties to fight in the marketplace and not in the courtroom. We are disappointed that they awarded any damages, however, it is a rebuke to Mattel's aggressive and overreaching tactics."
Nolan said MGA would continue to sell Bratz dolls and accessories.
"We're pleased that the jury agreed with Mattel that what MGA did was wrong and that damages were awarded," Mattel chief executive Bob Eckert said in a statement.