/// 12 February 2010 ///

I mentioned here that Mattel was planning to release its own line of Bratz® dolls later this year.

Well, the plot thickened.

In December 2009, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California temporarily suspended the ruling that gave Mattel ownership of the Bratz brand, ordering Mattel and MGA into mediation. The judges believe that the previous ruling, which turned ownership the entire Bratz brand over to Mattel because the designer who initially created the line was working at Mattel at the time, was too severe - going so far as to call it "draconian".

As a result, Mattel has put their Bratz doll line on hold.

And now, MGA has let loose a press release stating that they will debut a new line of Bratz dolls in August celebrating the brand's 10th anniversary.

The dolls will sport new faces and a new body - and, along with existing characters Cloe™, Yasmin™, Sasha™, and Jade™, the line will introduce 10 new characters.

According to the press release,

For years to the come, the BRATZ® will always be there exploring new fashion trends to inspire girls around the world.

However, it won't surprise anyone who's familiar with MGA's CEO Isaac Larian that the press release doesn't stop there - it attributes this quote directly to him:

"We are proud to be celebrating 10 years of success with Bratz, our #1 girls' lifestyle brand... We will continue the celebration with a mix of new products not only in this milestone year, but well into the next decade and beyond."

(Added emphasis mine.) If you look up chutzpah in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure there's a full-page, full-color three-dimensional pop-up picture of Isaac Larian that glows in the dark next to it.

Keep in mind that the previous ruling stated Mattel would take possession of all of the trademarked character names and all of the molds that were used to produce the dolls. In the (admittedly unlikely) event that the current panel decides to uphold that ruling, all of the new trademarks and molds MGA has created for their new line of dolls could conceivably be granted to Mattel as well. Depending on how many new molds were created, this could amount to tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars-worth of property.

MGA has been arguing that the turnover of Bratz to Mattel would be a "crippling" blow to the company and would likely put them out of business; if that's true, almost literally donating thousands of dollars worth of brand-new intellectual and physical property would probably seal the deal.

Now that I think about it, that picture in the dictionary should probably also play music, dance, and shoot sparks.

Toy Fair starts this Sunday - maybe we'll get a glimpse of the new Bratz dolls?

Doll Diary 12 February 2010