June 4, 2023

A federal jury in Santa Ana on Friday dominated towards a authorized declare by rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris and singer-songwriter Tameka “Tiny” Harris’ {that a} Chatsworth-based toy producer stole the identify and likeness of a woman group they managed in creating a preferred line of dolls.

The husband and spouse musicians sought practically $100 million from MGA Leisure, Inc., which started promoting the OMG LOL Shock dolls in 2019.

The Harris household claimed the hair, gown and identify of the dolls had been practically an identical to the OMG Girlz, a trio of teenage singers promoted by the couple from 2009 till 2015, and through a quick 2017 reunion.

When the Harris household despatched a cease-and-desist order to MGA in 2020, the corporate sued again.

SEE: Rapper T.I. and singer Tiny’s lawsuit towards Chatsworth toymaker goes to trial in Santa Ana

The toy maker prevailed on Friday, Could 26 after their attorneys argued the woman group allowed their trademark on the OMG Girlz identify to lapse in 2018.

“They deserted it,” Jennifer Keller, an MGA lawyer, stated of the group’s unique OMG Girlz identify.

“They really deserted it once they modified their identify,” Keller stated, referring to the group’s rebrand to only OMG, brief for “Formally Miss Guided.”

Keller additionally argued that the first Modification protected the corporate’s inventive crew in developing with unique designs for the dolls.

SEE: With success of L.O.L. Shock! dolls, Chatsworth-based MGA Leisure rolls out an L.A. pop-up

In usually harsh, private language, Keller stated the OMG Ladies weren’t well-known or distinctive sufficient to say the toy firm copied their look.

“They weren’t well-known,” Keller stated. “These girls had been pattern followers, not trendsetters. They by no means achieved liftoff.”

The OMG Girlz’ lawyer, John Keville, identified that the group had a sizeable following on social media and had been widespread within the Atlanta space, the place they had been most energetic. He stated they amassed a robust fan base amongst Black teenage women, and nonetheless maintained their social media presence.

Keville tried to attract on the similarities between the group’s outfits and the dolls. In his closing arguments, he confirmed the jury a lineup of the OMG Girlz  decked out in hip garments with loopy patterns, and sporting pink and purple hair. That was in comparison with the dolls with names like Girl Diva, Sweets and Spicy Babe.

He questioned an MGA designer’s declare she primarily based one of many dolls named Main Girl on late rock singer David Bowie.

“Primary, David Bowie didn’t appear like this,” Keville stated displaying Main Girl, who sported pale pores and skin and purple hair. “Quantity two, it’s odd to say you’re advertising to little women and also you’re impressed by David Bowie.”

Keville in contrast the case to the fictional battle between McDonald’s and comparable sounding restaurant chain “McDowell’s” within the Eddie Murphy comedy “Coming to America.”

The jury was apparently not satisfied a major variety of shoppers related the dolls with the group.

Of their testimony, MGA introduced a survey of about 1,500 consumers of the dolls that discovered no shoppers who thought there was a connection between the OMG Girlz and the OMG LOL Shock dolls.

Keville’s crew tried to counter the survey by calling 4 followers of the group as witnesses, who testified they purchased the dolls as a result of they believed they had been related to the OMG Girlz.

Friday’s verdict was the top of a bitter, two-and-a-half yr court docket battle between MGA and the Harris household. The primary authorized showdown between the 2 events resulted in a mistrial.

SEE: Mistrial declared in rapper T.I. and singer Tiny’s lawsuit towards toymaker

MGA’s founder, Isaac Larian, stated he was relieved after the choose learn the jury’s verdict Friday. He stated he refused to settle the case to guard his staff’ inventive license.

“Our designers are the guts and the soul of our firm,” Larian stated. “(The Harris household) had been making an attempt to reap the benefits of their exhausting work.”

Clifford Harris, who spoke briefly with reporters earlier than leaving the courthouse, beforehand stated he filed the lawsuit to guard his household’s legacy. Among the many OMG Girlz is Tiny Harris’ daughter, Zonnique Pullins.