A US judge has ordered toymaker Mattel to pay just under $310 million to its rival toymaker MGA in the protracted legal battle over the Bratz doll, and refused to allow it a new trial.
The California federal judge on Thursday ordered that Mattel pay its competitor $170 million in damages and nearly $140 million in legal fees and other costs in a dispute over ownership claims for the lucrative doll line aimed at pre-teen girls.
A jury had earlier this year already rejected copyright infringement claims by the maker of the world-famous Barbie doll against MGA Entertainment, and awarded MGA $88.4 million in damages.
Judge David O. Carter on Thursday lowered that award to $85 million, but then added an additional $85 million in punitive damages.
"We are disappointed with the recent rulings on the post trial motions," Mattel said in a statement after the ruling.
"Mattel strongly believes that the outcome at the trial level is not supported by the evidence or the law," the company said.
MGA for its part called the order a "step in the right direction to right the wrongs of Mattel's criminal acts" towards its rival.
"We will now pursue our antitrust case against Mattel and its CEO Bob Eckert in order to get fully compensated for the damages Mattel has caused MGA," said CEO Isaac Larian."
MGA launched Bratz dolls in June 2001 and they quickly became Barbie's top competitor, racking up more than $1 billion in annual sales and cutting into Mattel's market dominance with Barbie.
In the first trial in 2008, a jury sided with Mattel and awarded $100 million in damages. MGA was ordered to turn over the franchise to Mattel and stop making and selling Bratz products -- but the order was overturned on appeal and sent back for a retrial.
"Mattel can't claim a monopoly over fashion dolls with a bratty look or attitude, or dolls sporting trendy clothing -- these are all unprotectable ideas," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski had ruled in a court hearing last year.
Mattel had argued that Carter Bryant, Bratz's creator and a former Barbie designer, came up with the idea for the dolls in 1999 during his second stint with the company and that he violated the terms of his employment by taking his ideas to MGA.
MGA, meanwhile, accused Mattel of spying on its rivals, including using false identification cards to enter the MGA premises to photograph its products without authorization.