Ubisoft Pwns Bratz Producers For $US 13 Million

MGA Entertainment, the owners of the Underage Slutz Bratz brand of toys just discovered the hard way not to try and jerk Ubisoft around, to the tune of $US 13.4 million. Back in 2002 MGA and Ubisoft entered into an agreement to produce games based on the popular toy line. In 2003, overwhelmed by the massive, inexplicable success of the toys, MGA sought to force a renegotiation by terminating the original contract groundlessly, calling into question every aspect of Ubisoft's handling of the license in the process. Ubisoft wouldn't back down, MGA sued, and Ubi countersued for breach of contract. The Greenberg Glusker law firm stepped up to bat for Ubisoft.

"Our relationship with Ubisoft went far beyond the normal lawyer-client relationship," said Smith, who chairs Greenberg Glusker's Litigation Group and who was lead counsel in the matter. "We effectively became an extension of our client, learning everything about Ubisoft's business from its most senior management."

The results? An arbitrator ruled in favor of Ubisoft, of course, with MGA ordered to pay $US 13.2 million in lost profits, attorney's fees, and interest. All of MGA's claims were rejected. See kids? That's what happens when you act like bratz.

Greenberg Glusker Client Ubisoft Wins $US 13 Million Award in Video Game Licensing Dispute

LOS ANGELES—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Greenberg Glusker today announced that its client, Ubisoft Entertainment, one of the world's largest video game publishers, has obtained a $13.2 million judgment in a copyright and trademark infringement dispute against MGA Entertainment, the owner of Bratz™ dolls. Greenberg Glusker attorneys Stephen Smith and Suann MacIsaac, joining with Dale Kinsella of Kinsella, Weitzman, Iser, Kump & Aldisert, represented Ubisoft in the American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration that led to the judgment.

"We are thrilled with the result, and we feel completely vindicated," said Ubisoft's General Counsel Cecile Russeil. "We could not have achieved this outcome without attorneys who mastered every aspect of the case, and thoroughly understood our video gaming business."

In 2002, Ubisoft entered into a license with MGA to publish video games based on the Bratz™ dolls. Due to the increasing popularity of the dolls, MGA sought to force a renegotiation of the license in 2003 by terminating the license without cause and on pretextual grounds. When Ubisoft refused to give in to MGA's bad faith demands, MGA sued. Ubisoft counter-sued, alleging that MGA's termination of the license was invalid and a breach of contract.

In an effort to justify its wrongful termination, MGA sought to place at issue every aspect of Ubisoft's handling of the Bratz™ license, which required the legal team to become intimately familiar with Ubisoft's development, manufacturing, marketing and sales operations.

"Our relationship with Ubisoft went far beyond the normal lawyer-client relationship," said Smith, who chairs Greenberg Glusker's Litigation Group and who was lead counsel in the matter. "We effectively became an extension of our client, learning everything about Ubisoft's business from its most senior management."

The arbitrator ruled in favor of Ubisoft, awarding it $US 13 million in lost profits damages, attorney's fees and interest, and rejecting all of MGA's claims. After the arbitration award was confirmed by the Los Angeles Superior Court, MGA stipulated to entry of judgment in the amount of $US 13.2 million.

"This arbitration was a textbook example of effective cooperation between an internal legal team and its outside counsel," said lead Ubisoft in-house counsel Virginie Gringarten. "We are extremely pleased with the results."


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