T.I. and Tiny granted a third trial in their lawsuit pertaining to MGA Entertainment dolls.
The rapper, known as Clifford Harris, and Tiny, whose real name is Tameka Cottle, initially brought a lawsuit against MGA Entertainment, alleging that the company had unlawfully appropriated the name, likeness, and distinctive appearance of OMG Girlz. Moreover, they also accused MGA of engaging in “racist cultural appropriation.” The essence of the lawsuit alleges that the toy company used the OMG Girlz’s likeness to make their “L.O.L. Surprise OMG Dolls,” in 2019.
Subsequently, the plaintiffs in the case sought a $100 million settlement, focusing on the claims of trade dress infringement. The OMG Girlz, a pop trio established by Tiny in 2009, consists of Tiny’s daughter Zonnique Pullins, along with Bahja Rodriguez and Breaunna Womack. The dolls in question in the suit closely resemble the OMG Girlz. This includes their distinctive hairstyles and attire, which has raised significant concerns regarding the alleged imitation.
This decision of a third trial comes after the first trial ended in a mistrial. The ruling came after jurors heard a woman testifying she “did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas.” Senior U.S. District Judge James V. Selna declared the mistrial after hearing arguments from the company, MGA Entertainment’s lawyers. “The animated OMG Dolls copy the OMG Girl distinctive physical appearance, hair styles and hair colors, dress and mimic the OMG Girl released sound recordings,” the lawsuit read. T.I. and Tiny tried to convince a jury that the “L.O.L. Surprise OMG Girls” dolls showcased “cultural appropriation and outright theft of the intellectual property.” Moreover, they also added that MGA Entertainment was stealing the likeness of a group of “young multicultural women.”
However, the court held that “inflammatory” testimony about cultural appropriation had ruined their chances of a fair trial. Subsequently, the trial after that, they didn’t win either. The second trial was held in May and T.I. and his spouse Tiny, were unable to convince the jury that MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. dolls had imitated the look of the OMG Girlz.