The Grand Hustle family wants economic justice after discovering that the L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, which MGA Entertainment manufactures, made millions of dollars off the alleged likeliness of their former girl group OMG Girlz. T.I. and Tiny Harris launched the pre-teen girl group in 2009 with their daughter Zonnique Pullins (Miss Star) and her friends Bahja Rodriguez (Miss Beauty, and Breaunna Womack (Miss Babydoll).
According to Forbes, in April 2022, during an interview with the outlet, Tiny reminisced on how she discovered the similarity between the girl group and the L.O.L. Surprise! dolls.
“I was asked by someone if OMG Girlz had dolls available in the store. I told her no and immediately started looking into it and researching the company,” Tiny told Forbes. “I realized that the created L.O.L. Surprise! dolls had an identical appearance to the OMG Girlz. I couldn’t believe dolls were made in their likeness, and I didn’t know.”
“The dolls’ outfits are what struck me, and that’s how I knew they were infringing on our trademark. One outfit, in particular, stood out to me because I personally designed the outfit for the OMG Girlz tour,” she added. “It wasn’t something that I picked up in the store. So, for their doll to have on the exact outfit, I knew they stole it.”
According to Yahoo, The opposing lawyer representing the toymaker MGA is Jennifer Keller. Keller’s opening argument states both T.I. and Tiny have “no legitimate claim to any profits from MGA Entertainment’s line of L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G.” Her second statement claims the Harris’s are attempting to extort the toy company with “fabricated claims.”
“This case is about greed. That’s what it’s about. It’s a shakedown,” Keller said in her first address to the jury. “(They) want tens of millions of dollars from MGA Entertainment for doing absolutely nothing, and I do mean nothing. We’re going to show you that the OMG Girlz actually copied us, and now complain we look like them,” she said.
“They were trend followers, not trendsetters,” Keller concluded.
According to Rolling Stone, Keller argues MGA marketed dolls align with its popular Bratz line back in 2005 and claims the girl group’s name was derivative, of Bratz.
T.I. and Tiny’s lawyer, David C. Scheper, argue OMG Girlz became a national brand in 2012 and performed for “jubilant” audiences in “packed arenas.”
“They brought the house down, and their social media exploded thereafter, and the OMG Girlz became and remain highly relevant,” Scheper said.
The likeliness argument is their strongest claim since Tiny saw photos of the OMG Dolls and noticeably recognized similarities in hair color combinations, hair cuts, and designed outfits she designed.
“Now, someone was watching that reunion appearance. And that someone, we don’t know who, worked at MGA Entertainment. You will see that outfits worn by the OMG Girlz at that New Year’s event in Atlanta later translated into dolls that (MGA founder) Isaac Larian and MGA are making millions of dollars off of,” Scheper said.
Scheper showed jurors a photo of OMG Girlz member Rodriguez’s half-pink, half-black hairstyle from a previous look and compared it with a “L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G.” doll with a similar hairstyle released in 2019.
“This is one of the most unmistakable borrowings,” Scheper told the jurors.
According to Rolling Stone, Scheper also used an email chain dated Dec. 31, 2019, as evidence to support his claims of confusion between OMG Girlz and OMG Dolls.
“Hahaha!!,” the internal email forwarded to an MGA designer with the subject line, “OMG Doll in Music Video,” read. “I think they’re talking about OMG Girlz, not OMG dolls.”
Scheper believes the email thread proves “evidence of actual knowledge that there is confusion just two months after the dolls were launched.”
“None of our dolls are based on the OMG Girlz. We would never design and try to market children’s toys based on the OMG Girlz and the Hussle parties, the Harris family, with which they’re associated. It is not a family most people would want their children to emulate. And you’re going to see why that is in evidence produced throughout this trial,” Keller said.
According to Rolling Stone, Scheper will call upon consumers of the dolls and fans of the girl group to testify about their confusion between the two brands when purchasing the dolls.
“We were initially excited because the L.O.L. Dolls are a big deal and thought maybe we could work something out. I sat with my lawyer and decided to send a cease and desist,” Tiny said to Forbes. “They immediately sued me. They didn’t respond or try to sit down and talk. So, I countersued.”
T.I. and Tiny will be called as witnesses during the upcoming trial and so will MGA Founder, Larian.