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19 July, 2008

Barbie vs. Bratz ..1-0!

Filed under: copyright, marketing, news — Eva Callegari @ 10:20 pm

On 17th July a jury verdict of the District Court of Riverside – California has been released: Mr. Carter Bryant – the designer of Bratz dolls – created them when he was still employed at Mattel, in 1999. Therefor MGA Entertainment, the company which launched the Bratz dolls on 2001 is guilty of copyright infringement and contract interference.

If the decision will be confirmed during the second phase of the trial, MGA Entertainment could be ordered to pay damages in the range of hundred millions Dollars in back royalties. The ownership of the rights on the Bratz will be in dispute too.

When these kind of “dolls” fight, the stock market cannot be indifferent: on Friday the Mattel‘s shares shot up 12 %. This market euphoria sounds new, as Mattel suffered significant loss in recent years. The analysts are however not so confident that the above legal battle will represent a definitive renaissance for Barbie.

However this story will end, it is teaching us something interesting: pay attention to designers or inventors previously employed by a competitor!

(IP Faber: consultants on copyright and strategical immaterial assets. Contact us)

Il 17 luglio scorso una giuria della corte distrettatuale del Riverside – Californa ha deciso che Carter Bryant – ideatore delle Bratz – ha creato queste bambole quando ancora era dipendente della Mattel, nel 1999. La MGA Entertainment, la società che ha lanciato sul mercato le Bratz nel 2001, è quindi responsabile per violazione di diritto d’autore e per avere volutamente indotto Bryant a non rispettare i propri doveri di lealta’ verso la Mattel.

Se la decisione verrà confermata nella seconda fase del processo, la MGA Entertainment potrebbe vedersi costretta a pagare danni nell’ordine di centinaia di milioni di dollari, commisurati alle royalties non pagate negli anni passati alla Mattel. La stessa titolarità dei diritti sulle Bratz sarà messa in discussione.

Quando bambole di questo genere combattono fra loro, le borse non rimangono indifferenti: venerdì le azioni della Mattel sono salite del 12 %. Questa euforia dei mercati suona nuova, visto che la Mattel ha sofferto perdite significative negli anni passati. Gli analisti in realtà non sono così fiduciosi che la battaglia legale in corso possa davvero rappresentare una rinascita per la Barbie.

Comunque si concluda, questa storia ci insegna che è sempre meglio fare attenzione a designer o inventori che hanno lavorato in passato come dipendenti di un concorrente!

(IP Faber: consulenti in materia di diritto d’autore e di asset immateriali strategici per le aziende. Contattaci)

Photo from album of callme_crochet (Flickr) –


11 July, 2008

Music = Copyright – DRM

Filed under: copyright, internet, marketing, thoughts — Tags: , , , — Enrico @ 8:45 am

Creative Commons License Photo credit: Travelin Librarian

Consumers don’t care for Digital Rights Management (DRM), they just care for Music.

DRM technology has been cracked many times and has prooven not to be the holy barrier it was meant.

Recent cases against consumers infringing copyright issues are turning to be short victories for the major labels.

EMI and Universal Music are selling unprotected music on Amazon and Wall-Mart, Apple has started a new market by selling DRM tracks for less than a dollar and unprotected music for 30% more (iTunes Plus), Amazon is prooving to be on trask with its brand new music store by selling DRM free music.

What are creators doing? Radio Head started to sell their brand new album through its own website and at a pay-as-much-as-you-want price. And now more bands are following suit. They just launched a new campaign to give more power to music’ authors and performers (see our post here on )

Let’s face it: the music industry is changing at a very fast pace. And perhaps people that should have the closer view (music industry executives) are the only ones who still don’t understand this: how to invent, develop and exploit a new booming market. Ian Rogers, Yahoo! music general manager, told in a presentation before a group of music executives that they need to re think the copy protection system. And he is not alone.

At IP Faber we believe Ian Rogers went on target when he said “I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience… I can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value…. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out.”

He urges the industry to focus on consumer and consumer’s experience, saying that anything else is off-target. Consumer is king. Content (music) is king.

If this is not yet a new vision, it is for sure the end of an era where old fashioned technology has translated into old fashioned control techniques. According to Rogers, we need “to move toward a new media experience and drive there as quickly as possible. We should not wasting time and efforts by stopping what is obvious today. We should be creating the tools of a Web and Media entertaining and intriguing experience and reward music-lovers for being a part of it”.

(IP Faber is at the forefront of open innovation and copyrighted works. Contact us))

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