The latest development in the ferocious battle between Mattel and MGA Entertainment over who owns rights to the once-popular Bratz doll line — a ruling Thursday by Santa Ana, Calif., federal district court Judge David Carter, who’s presiding over the dispute in the wake of a remand from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — won’t do much to streamline the issues as the case heads to a January trial date. Carter struck some counterclaims by MGA but refused to dismiss others, including MGA’s eye-popping RICO allegations.

The ruling means MGA can proceed with its assertions, outlined in an explosive Aug. 17 brief filed by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, that Mattel and its lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan conspired to steal trade secrets from MGA and other Mattel competitors by, among others things, running a corporate espioniage operation and paying a “hush money” severance package to a Mattel espionage specialist who was threatening to expose the company’s thefts. (Mattel has asserted its own RICO claims against MGA, which have already survived MGA’s motion to dismiss.)

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