Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 5/21/2008 07:51:00 AM

Trade Secrets and Dolls Continued

Forbes.com has an update from the Associated Press on a story we first wrote about in November 2006 concerning a lawsuit by toy maker Mattel (maker of the famous Barbie doll) against insurgent toy maker MGA, maker of Barbie's chief competition, the "Bratz" dolls.

Jury selection began Tuesday in their case, now characterized as a "federal copyright infringement case," pending in federal court in Riverside California.

According to the AP, Mattel has alleged that it's entitled to some of the profits from the Bratz dolls because MGA stole the concept and other trade secrets by luring away a Mattel employee.

Mattel filed the original lawsuit in 2004 against Carter Bryant, one of its former doll designers, accusing him of wrongfully selling his Bratz ideas to privately held MGA while he was under contract to Mattel.

Bryant has said he became inspired to create Bratz between two stints at Mattel, and it wasn't anything more than an idea until he left the company.

Mattel dropped the lawsuit against Bryant on Monday, the eve of jury selection, said John Quinn, a lawyer representing Mattel. He declined further comment.

The AP says that Isaac Larian, MGA's chief executive officer, has pegged the value of the Bratz franchise at $2 billion, but industry analysts believe its market share has slipped in the past few years.

We'll update on the result when it comes in.

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