What Does Your Daughter’s Favorite Doll Have to Do with Well-drafted Employment Agreements?


In the end, the highly publicized seven year legal battle over who owned the rights to the popular “Bratz” line of dolls boiled down to one thing—how a jury viewed the terms of an employment agreement.

As reported by the New York Times, Mattel Inc. first sued MGA Entertainment Inc. more than six years ago, claiming that Bratz designer Carter Bryant had been working for Mattel (he later joined MGA) when he first designed the dolls, and that Mattel was the rightful owner of those designs under the terms of Bryant’s employment agreement.

Under the terms of the employment contract, Bryant assigned to Mattel rights to “all inventions…conceived…at any time during my employment by the Company.”

MGA argued that the term “inventions” did not include ideas, but only more concrete creations. The term was defined by the agreement as including “all discoveries, improvements, processes, developments, designs, know-how, data computer programs and formulae, whether patentable or unpatentable.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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