You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side
by Orly Lobel
W. W. Norton & Company
Our book recommendation for today’s 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is yet another book about toys. This time it’s about the dark side of the toy industry, the battle between Mattel, the makers of the iconic Barbie doll, and MGA, the company that created the Bratz dolls. It was not just a war over best-selling toys, but a war over who owns ideas.This is a great gift for any die-hard fan of fashion dolls, but it’s also perfect for anybody with an interest in intellectual property rights and legal maneuvering.
When Carter Bryant began designing what would become the billion-dollar line of Bratz dolls, he was taking time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. Later, back at Mattel, he sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA. In You Don’t Own Me, law professor Orly Lobel reveals the colorful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.
This entertaining and provocative work pits audacious MGA against behemoth Mattel, shows how an idea turns into a product, and explores the two different versions of womanhood, represented by traditional all-American Barbie and her defiant, anti-establishment rival, Bratz―the only doll to come close to outselling her. In an era when workers may be asked to sign contracts granting their employers the rights to and income resulting from their ideas―whether conceived during work hours or on their own time―Lobel’s deeply researched story is a riveting and thought-provoking contribution to the contentious debate over creativity and intellectual property.
The series of lawsuits in question bounced from court to court, and practically killed Bratz by blocking them from stores for a couple of years right at the height of their popularity, which lead to Barbie losing in court, but winning at retail.
Orly Lobel is an award-winning author and a renowned legal scholar. A graduate of Harvard University, she was recently named one of the top minds in research by The Market Magazine. Her books and research are critically acclaimed and have been featured in top media including the New York Times. the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg, NPR and TED. In You Don’t Own Me, Lobel presents what could be a complex and at time boring subject in a vivid and engrossing manner that pulls you in almost like a Perry Mason story.
You should be able to order You Don’t Own Me from any bookseller using the ISBN number, or go to Amazon where it’s on sale for almost half the suggested retail price.
Leave a Reply