The start of the copyright infringement trial pitting Mattel Inc., home of Barbie, against the maker of the Bratz doll line could have been mistaken for bring your daughter to court day. Mattel’s lead counsel, John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, began his statement by introducing his wife and daughter. Not to be outdone, Thomas Nolan of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the lead attorney for Bratz manufacturer MGA Entertainment Inc., noted the presence of his own wife and two young daughters during his opener. Once the family introductions were over, the two lawyers sketched out very different story lines.

Quinn argued that MGA did not have a fashion doll line and lacked the capability to create one. Instead, “they thought the best way was to go out and take one.” In the case, Mattel alleges that its former employee, Carter Bryant, designed the original Bratz sketches while he was on contract with Mattel. As such, Bryant was subject to an agreement giving Mattel ownership of his work product. Additionally, the toy giant alleges that Bryant’s sketches were partially inspired by a doll line concept developed by yet another employee. “This explains how a small company that had never developed a fashion doll was able to develop a doll that became a hit,” Quinn said.

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