In the summer of 1999, Mattel sued Mr. Forsythe for copyright and trademark infringement.
After a lengthy legal tussle, which included a series of appeals, a federal judge late last week instructed Mattel to pay Mr. Forsythe legal fees of more than $1.8 million.
"I couldn't have asked for a better result," said Mr. Forsythe, 46, of Kanab, Utah. "This should set a new standard for the ability to critique brands that are pervasive in our culture."
...Mattel can appeal the award, but the company would have to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which had earlier instructed the district court to consider awarding legal fees...
Why should Mattel have to pay the defendant's attorneys' fees? According to the judge, the case was "objectively unreasonable and frivolous," as Mattel's "sophisticated" legal counsel had to have been able to figure out, so the choice to bring a lawsuit has to be seen as an effort to pressure the artist to give up what he had a right do by dragging him into frighteningly costly litigation. Exactly! Great decision! And thanks to the artist for not freaking out and giving up when Mattel sued him.