Appeals court backs MGA in Bratz ruling
SAN FRANCISCO Bratz dolls are back, after a July 22 appeals court ruling, the latest move in the long-running legal war pitting MGA Entertainment Inc. against Mattel Inc.
Now the case could end up being retried.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned a December 2008 ruling by a U.S. District Court in California that had ordered MGA to hand over the rights to Mattel. A jury awarded Mattel $100 million in damages.
Mattel sued MGA, charging that Bratz dolls were designed by a former Mattel employee who secretly shared the idea with MGA.
MGA founder and CEO Issac Larian introduced Bratz in 2001.
MGA appealed the district court ruling, leading to the ruling that overturned the case. The court ruled that trial Judge Stephen Larson made errors in his instructions to the jury. MGA also turned the basic idea into a successful brand, the appeals court said.
Larson had ordered MGA to stop making Bratz, give the brand to Mattel and pull all remaining Bratz dolls from store shelves, by Jan. 1, 2010. However, the appeals court suspended Larson's order this past December, pending its ruling on MGA's appeal.
MGA is releasing new Bratz dolls for fall 2010. The company also started making a line of dolls called Moxie Girlz in 2009.
MGA, based in Van Nuys, Calif., owns toy rotational molder Little Tikes Co. in Hudson, Ohio.
Officials of MGA and Mattel, of El Segundo, Calif., did not issue immediate comments regarding the new ruling.
JCI buying majority of South Korean JV
GLENDALE, WIS. Johnson Controls Inc. is buying 90 percent of its existing South Korean battery-making joint venture Delkor Corp., and investing another $40 million to increase capacity.
The acquisition will cost about $90 million, with the remaining 10 percent stake in the company being purchased by Delkor's existing local management team, Glendale-based JCI said in a July 23 news release.
Delkor, based in Seoul, makes standard lead acid batteries primarily for the auto industry, including the batteries' polypropylene case. The manufacturing expansion will add another 2.7 million batteries to Delkor's annual capacity, bringing it up to 10 million units.
The investment complements JCI's strategy for its battery business in Asia, including investments in China, said Alex Molinaroli, president of the firm's Power Solutions unit.
Fibertech moving HQ to bigger Ind. plant
HUNTINGBURG, IND. Fibertech Inc., a maker of custom pallets, shipping containers and storage lockers, is growing its industrial footprint by nearly 40 percent.
The rotational molder and plastic repair and recycling company will move in the next two months from its 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Huntingburg to a 65,000-square-foot facility in nearby Elberfeld, Ind., officials said.
The economy has been down, as everybody knows, but we've been doing particularly well, Vice President Alan Girard said July 22 by phone. We're starting to make a mark, and our competitors are starting to take notice.
The 22-year-old firm will add machinery from Ferry Industries Inc. as part of the move, and will have three rotomolding machines running at the new site, he said.
The firm runs high, low and linear low density polyethylene, cross-linked PE, and nylon. All Fibertech containers carry a four-year limited warranty.
Fibertech bought the building, which had belonged to automation systems manufacturer Integrated Systems Manufacturing Inc., for an undisclosed price. Girard said some production of plastic molds that Fibertech had outsourced will be moved in-house. About half of the floor space will be for manufacturing, with the rest for warehousing and recycling operations, he said.
Privately owned Fibertech does not disclose sales. It employs about 60.