LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mattel Inc MAT.N is “interested in settling” its copyright infringement litigation against MGA Entertainment Inc over the Bratz doll franchise in California, the toy giant’s attorney has told a court.
“Whether one would call it substantive progress or not, I won’t go into that, but there’s some activity with respect to parties making some effort to settle the case,” Mattel attorney Mike Zeller said in court during a hearing on Wednesday.
Last year, a Riverside, California jury found that Mattel owned some of the original drawings for the Bratz doll line, and awarded Mattel up to $100 million in damages.
The two companies are still in court battling over which has the rights to sell Bratz products and what amount of damages MGA owes Mattel.
In December, U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson ordered MGA to stop making and selling Bratz toys but suspended his order until the end of 2009 to give MGA an opportunity to appeal it.
Zeller made the statement during an argument opposing intervention in the case by MGA debt investors led by Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) co-founder Neil Kadisha.
Larson on Wednesday postponed ruling on the intervention motion and on Mattel’s request to appoint a receiver to oversee the Bratz franchise but said he would revisit both issues when a forensic audit of MGA’s books is completed.
Larson said he planned to issue in coming weeks a final version of his December 3 injunction that bars MGA from selling or making Bratz products.
After the hearing, MGA attorney Tom Nolan said he was “surprised” at Zeller’s disclosure and declined to comment on the progress of any settlement negotiations.
MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said in an email that he has not met with Mattel CEO Bob Eckert or any Mattel executive to talk about settling the case, but added that MGA “is and has always been interested in a fair settlement.”
Reporting by Gina Keating; editing by Carol Bishopric