Thursday, July 17, 2008
Barbie Wins Trial of the Year,
Well, the news came down today that Barbie beat Bratz in a knockdown, drag out intellectual property war. Some may call it the case of the year. Basically, Barbie's Mattel Corp. was able to prove that the creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant created the Bratz doll line while working at Mattel. Why does this matter? Because all intellectual property created by employees or independent contractors at the direction of a company belongs to that company. This is the work for hire doctrine and it is very important for employers, especially internet and e-commerce companies employing web developers and software engineers, to have a firm grasp of this doctrine. In this case, the jury essentially ruled that Barbie owns Bratz to some degree. The damages portion of the trial will take place later but you better believe Barbie is going to get a ton of cash in the form of royalties, profits etc.
If you are an E-commerce business or employer, make sure to contact an experienced copyright lawyer or trademark law firm to protect your rights when it comes to works for hire.