Mattel Wins Dismissal of MGA Entertainment Antitrust Suit Over Bratz Dolls

Mattel Inc. (MAT) won dismissal of an MGA Entertainment Inc. lawsuit accusing it of antitrust violations related to the fight between the two companies over MGA’s Bratz dolls.

U.S. District Judge David Carter in Santa Ana, California, said in yesterday’s ruling that MGA’s claims against Mattel should have been, or might have been, raised in earlier lawsuits. Carter, saying it didn’t “appear impossible for MGA to allege anticompetitive conduct” after a cutoff date in August 2010, gave the company until Nov. 11 to file an amended complaint to make those claims.

MGA said in its antitrust complaint filed in February that it sought $1 billion in damages and asked that the amount be tripled for the alleged antitrust violations. The Van Nuys, California-based company accused Mattel and Chief Executive Officer Robert Eckert of embracing a “litigate MGA to death” strategy.

A jury in April agreed with closely held MGA that El Segundo, California-based Mattel stole its trade secrets when its employees got into MGA’s showrooms at toy fairs using phony business cards. Mattel is appealing Carter’s award of punitive damages and fees to MGA.

In August, Carter ordered Mattel to pay MGA $225 million in punitive damages, attorney fees and costs. That ruling brought the total award in the trial over the Bratz doll’s origins to $310 million.

Susan Hale, an MGA spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment after regular business hours yesterday.

The case is MGA Entertainment v. Mattel, 11-01063, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)

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