MGA Entertainment alleges Mattel stole trade secrets

Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:12am EDT

Aug 17 (Reuters) - MGA Entertainment Inc has accused Mattel Inc (MAT.O) of allegedly stealing trade secrets and confidential information of toy companies by fraudulently entering private showrooms with the knowledge of its company executives.

In a court document, MGA, whose brands include "little tikes" and "Bratz" dolls, alleged that some employees of Mattel, the maker of Barbie and Ken, "willfully and deliberately misrepresented themselves" to gain entry into showrooms of rivals, thereby acquiring a competitive advantage.

"Mattel employees went to Kinkos and printed up fake business cards so that they could lie their way into the private showrooms of their competitors," said the complaint.

Referring to Mattel and its partners as a "Racketeering Enterprise", MGA alleged an estimated $1 billion of its brand equity had been destroyed, and nearly drove MGA out of business.

In an email to Reuters, MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said he had no comment.

Mattel could not be reached for comments outside regular U.S. business hours.

The case is In Re: Carter Bryant vs Mattel Inc, US district court, Central District of California (Southern Division), No. 04-09049.

(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Kavita Chandran)

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