Bratz dolls are back--but they've been beaten up a bit

New Bratz dolls come out this summer after years tied up in court.

The question is, will anyone care?

Bratz dolls were a huge phenomenon in the 1990's, before a nasty copyright fight tossed them to the sidelines.

Now the winner of the fight (for now) can legally re-introduce the children's brand.

To do so, it will face the challenge of re-introducing itself to a market that has long since moved-on, and a generation who knows nothing of the Bratz franchise.

MGA Entertainment, the maker of Bratz lost control of the line of dolls twoyears ago when a federal court ruled against them and in favor of Mattel in a copyright-infringement suit.

Now, an appellate court has ruled in MGA's favor returning brand ownership to the company. The rulying citing mistakes in instructions given to the jury and otherproblems with the case.

Bratz once generated between $800 million and $1 billion in sales. Can they breathe that type of life back into a forgotten, and tarnished brand?

Shane Gowan, a toy industry analyst at Needham & Co, is quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying that "it would be wrong to assume thatthe reintroduction of Bratz, a nearly 10-year-old brand that hadalready begun to experience reduced sales, will retake lost marketshare."

The company says major toysellers are signed up--including Walmart., Toys 'R' Us, Target. andSears Holdings Corp. and will start carrying 13 new Bratz products in a fewweeks, including retooled boy Bratz dolls. The stores also bought aline of 10 new Bratz characters that will be launched in October.

MGA CEO Isaac Larian says "We've done research that shows that while Bratz hasn't been on toy shelves in a significant way in three years, it has 100% name recognition among tween girls," he told WSJ. "They still want the dolls."

The legal ranglings began when a worker at Mattel who handled designing hairstyles and outfits for Barbie dolls in a 'collectibles' range, came up with the idea for a more contemporary series of glamorous, up-to-date dolls and successfully pitched the idea to MGA Entertainment.

The worker quit his job, and began working with MGA during the time after he gave notice, but while he was still employed by Mattel.

Lawsuits, decisions, and appeals have gone back and forth for years. A recent decision allowed MGA to resume selling the dolls after being forced to pull the products off toy store shelves a couple of years ago.

Mattel vows to fight on, continuing the hovering cloud over the brand.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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