A federal court ordered toymaker MGA Entertainment to cease all distribution of their popular Bratz doll line. The ruling came yesterday in a California court. A lawsuit brought by rivals Mattel Inc. (makes of the eternally popular Barbie) alleged that the dolls were originally designed by an employee who was working for Mattel at the time. The jury found in favor of Mattel for copyright infringement and breach of contract. MGA is set to appeal the ruling, which, if upheld, would mean the all Bratz dolls would be taken off store shelves in early 2009.
What we're wondering here is: what happens to the various Bratz-licensed entertainment products - especially the games? There have been well over twenty different Bratz releases across current platforms since 2003, and no doubt more were planned by publisher THQ (who holds the license to make games based on the toys). Will game retailers have to send back their stock of Bratz titles, and will the troubled THQ lose another dependable revenue source as a result?
Most likely, MGA and Mattel will work out some sort of sgreement to keep the dolls on toy shelves, but Mattel demanding additional royalties for all Bratz-related products could also put a dent in the profitability of the games, leading to fewer being released or the license being dropped altogether. The worst case scenario is that we might lose a popular gaming series for young girls in the midst of all this legal mess.