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Mattel Wins Dismissal of MGA Entertainment’s Antitrust Case

Mattel Inc. won dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit by MGA Entertainment Inc., the toymaker that sought $1 billion in damages alleging Mattel violated antitrust laws in a dispute over Bratz dolls.

U.S. District Court David Carter in Santa Ana, California, yesterday dismissed MGA’s complaint. The judge had thrown out the case in October, saying MGA’s allegations should have been raised in previous litigation, and allowed the closely held company to file an amended complaint. This time, he didn’t grant leave to refile.

“MGA’s first amended complaint and opposition all but asks this court to reconsider its prior order dismissing the original complaint,” Carter said in his ruling.

A jury in April rejected Mattel’s claims that MGA had stolen the idea for its Bratz dolls and agreed with MGA that El Segundo, California-based Mattel stole MGA’s trade secrets when its employees got into the company’s showrooms at toy fairs by using phony business cards.

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. MGA filed its antitrust lawsuit in February of last year after the jury trial had already begun.

MGA Chief Executive Officer Isaac Larian said the Van Nuys, California-based company will appeal.

“The judge dismissed on technicality and wants guidance from the court of appeal,” Larian said in an e-mailed statement. “Mattel’s illegal and anticompetitive activities continue worldwide and we will pursue Mattel accordingly until they stop their monopolistic behavior.”

Alan Hilowitz, a Mattel spokesman, said the company was pleased with the decision.

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

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