Bryant’s employment agreement may not have assigned his ideas for the names “Bratz” and “Jade” to Mattel at all, and the district court erred by holding that it did so unambiguously. Even if Bryant did assign his ideas, the district court abused its discretion in transferring the entire Bratz trademark portfolio to Mattel. We therefore vacate the constructive trust, UCL injunction and declaratory judgment concerning Mattel’s rights to the Bratz trademarks. The district court may impose a narrower constructive trust on remand only if there’s a proper determination that Mattel owns Bryant’s ideas.
The district court also erred in holding, at summary judgment, that the employment agreement assigned works created outside the scope of Bryant’s employment. We therefore vacate the copyright injunction. On remand, Mattel will have to convince a jury that the agreement assigned Bryant’s preliminary sketches and sculpt, either because the agreement assigns works made outside the scope of employment or because these works weren’t made outside of Bryant’s employment. And, in order to justify a copyright injunction, Mattel will have to show that the Bratz sculpts are virtually identical to Bryant’s preliminary sculpt, or that the Bratz dolls are substantially similar to Bryant’s sketches disregarding similarities in unprotectable ideas.
Nothing we say here precludes the entry of equitable relief based on appropriate findings. Because several of the errors we have identified appeared in the jury instructions, it’s likely that a significant portion—if not all—of the jury verdict and damage award should be vacated, and the entire case will probably need to be retried. We express no opinion on this issue here, except to say that any further proceedings must be consistent with our decision.
America thrives on competition; Barbie, the all-American girl, will too.
EQUITABLE RELIEF VACATED. Each party shall bear its own costs.