SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A federal court jury Thursday rejected Mattel Inc.'s claims that it owns the copyright to the blockbuster, billion-dollar Bratz dolls and instead awarded upstart rival MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $88 million in damages for misappropriation of trade secrets.
The verdict came as a staggering blow to the toy giant, which has long claimed the smaller company stole the idea for the provocative, pouty-lipped toys.
The jury also found that Mattel acted willfully and maliciously in misappropriating MGA's trade secrets. MGA lawyers said that raised the possibility the judge could increase the damages by up to three times the jury's award.
The verdict will allow MGA to regain control of its flagship fashion doll that debuted in 2001 and to once again try to compete with Mattel's iconic Barbie doll to dominate the market.
"If Mattel had won this lawsuit, MGA would have been wiped out, and that's what Mattel wanted to do," MGA attorney Jennifer Keller said.
Mattel's chief executive Bob Eckert said the company was disappointed.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages and the rights to a blockbuster toy were at stake in the case that cost each side millions in legal fees as it dragged on.