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Judge awards MGA $309 million in Bratz toy doll spat

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A federal judge ordered toy giant Mattel Inc. to pay rival MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $309 million on Thursday, a sum that dwarfs the $88 million awarded earlier this year by a jury.

The litigation related to a years-long dispute over ownership of the urban, multi-ethnic and street-smart Bratz dolls, which were a runaway hit with girls between ages 9 and 11.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter awarded Los Angeles-based MGA $172.5 million for trade secrets misappropriation and MGA and its Chief Executive Officer Isaac Larian another $137 million in legal fees related to copyright and trade secrets issues. The total was more than $309.8 million, according to court papers and MGA lead counsel Jennifer Keller. The awards include $85 million punitive damages.

Mattel said in a statement that it was disappointed with the ruling and would ''review the court's ruling and evaluate next steps.'' The El Segundo-based toy maker can appeal.

Michael Zeller, who handled the case for Mattel, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Mattel first filed a lawsuit in 2004 alleging that Bratz designer Carter Bryant was employed at Mattel when he designed the Bratz dolls.

But a jury in April rejected Mattel's claims and instead awarded MGA damages in a counter-claim. The smaller toymaker had alleged in its countersuit that Mattel used hired gumshoes to spy on its toy designs and marketing plans at trade shows and stole its trade secrets.

Carter lowered the original $88.5 million in damages on the trade secrets claims to $85 million after finding the jury made a mathematical error, but then awarded an additional $85 million in punitive damages.