Friday, November 24, 2006, 11/24/2006 11:25:00 AM

Trade Secrets and Dolls

From the San Jose Mercury-News, a story about Mattel, the famous maker of Barbie dolls, suing rival MGA Entertainment, Inc., maker of the "Bratz" dolls which have been taking away significant market share from Barbie for the past several years. Mattel had earlier accused one of its former designers of improperly selling the concept for the Bratz dolls to MGA.

According to the story, Mattel is seeking to file an amended complaint, which alleges "intellectual property theft to MGA itself, accusing the company of stealing the Bratz doll line designs and then continuing to pilfer Mattel's confidential and proprietary information to fuel its growth."

Mattel contends MGA hired away three key Mattel employees in Mexico who "stole virtually every category of Mattel's sensitive and trade secret business plans and information" for markets in Mexican and elsewhere.

MGA CEO Isaac Larian, who is named as a defendant in the amended complaint, called Mattel's claims "a bunch of nonsense." "This lawsuit proves that Mattel is desperate," he said. "They wish they owned Bratz. They don't and they know it. The last time I checked, it was not illegal for people to leave one company to go to a better company for a better job."

Same as it ever was.

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