Today’s Ruling Could Mean a New Trial for Bratz?
Reuters just reported that a “federal appeals court said Mattel, Inc., was wrongly granted ownership of the Bratz doll franchise, a decision that could lead to a new trial in the long-running case. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco threw out a district court judge’s injunction prohibiting rival toymaker MGA Entertainment from producing or marketing Bratz female fashion dolls, and dolls substantially similar to Mattel’s copyrighted Bratz works,” according to Reuters. Reuters is also reporting that the ruling said the judge erred in imposing a constructive trust on trademarks, including “Bratz” and “Jade,” that essentially transferred the Bratz trademark portfolio to Mattel.
“The Ninth Circuit was considering whether U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson went too far in awarding MGA’s Bratz doll franchise to Mattel, after MGA lost a copyright infringement trial to its rival in 2008,” according to Reuters.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski returned the case to the district court. According to Reuters, the judge said that because several of the errors appeared in instructions to the jury that considered the case, “it’s likely that a significant portion—if not all—of the jury verdict and damage award should be vacated, and the entire case will probably need to be retried.”
Mattel, MGA and lawyers for both companies were not immediately available for comment for the Reuters piece.
Jakks Pacific Reports Q2
Jakks Pacific, Inc., reported results for the company’s second quarter and first six months ended June 30, 2010. Net sales for the second quarter of 2010 were $123.3 million, compared to $144.8 million reported in the comparable period last year; and net sales for the six months were $200.6 million, compared to $253.5 million in 2009. Net income for the second quarter was $3 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, which includes a one-time pretax charge relating to the benefit payment of $2.8 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, to the estate of Jack Friedman pursuant to his employment agreement, compared to a loss of $406.6 million, or $14.96 per diluted share, reported in the second quarter of 2009. The net loss for the six month period was $2.2 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, which also includes the payment to Jack Friedman’s estate, compared to a loss for the first six months of 2009 of $417.4 million, or $15.35 per diluted share.
On a non-GAAP basis, net sales for the second quarter of 2010 were $123.3 million, compared to $145.4 million, and $200.6 million for the six month period, compared to $254.1 million reported in the comparable period last year. On a non-GAAP basis, Jakks reported net income for the second quarter of $3.0 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $0.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2009. Non-GAAP results for the first six months of 2010 was a loss of $2.2 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $11.7 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, for the first six months of 2009.
Fremantle to Create Film Based on Le Mans Race
FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), the commercial and brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, announced that it has optioned the rights to produce and distribute The Drivers, a series based on the high-octane 24-hour motor race in Le Mans in the 1950s and 1960s, as part of its global drama strategy.
This news is on the heels of last week’s announcement of FME’s plans to elevate its drama offering to finance and package English-language European drama series for the U.S. market as well as the rest of the world. As part of its strategy to offer funding to new dramas, FME plans to fund and package The Drivers in Europe and then sell it into the U.S and internationally.
FME also announced that it will be entering a first look deal with Headline Pictures in London and with Sennet Entertainment in the U.S. to develop a slate of long form content.
The Drivers will be based on the book, Shelby: The Man, The Cars, The Legend written by Wallace A. Wyss, which was optioned from Iconografix. It will tell the true story of wild young drivers from the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, and Britain, friends and rivals, amateurs risking everything for a shot on the tracks.
MGA Expands Moxie Brand, Intros Bitty Buttons
MGA Entertainment expands its Moxie Girlz doll brand with the introduction of Moxie Teenz, which are 14-inch dolls that feature realistic eyes, interchangeable wigs, and 15 points of articulation. The first four Moxie Teenz characters—which are named Melrose, Arizona, Tristen, and Bijou—do everything from attend college to perform on Broadway, living the kinds of exciting young adult lives to which girls aspire. A full line of products will be available this fall.
Additionally, MGA’s Moxie Girlz partner with Burger King Corp. for a Kids Meals program, which is expected to begin August 23 and runs through September 12 in the U.S.
MGA also announced earlier in the week the launch of Bitty Buttons, a collection of eight different 13-inch rag dolls who magically came to life when their very last stitch was sewn. With a tag line of “Sew magical—Sew cute,” each Bitty Button was born on a special day in history and has her own personality developed by the fabrics used to make her.