A federal judge has ruled that Mattel Inc. can proceed to trial with claims that a former employee breached his agreement while employed by the company by doing work for rival MGA Entertainment that led to the successful line of Bratz dolls.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson said Friday that Mattel could claim rights to work done by then-employee Carter Bryant.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, has seen sales of its Barbie dolls suffer from competition by the edgier, urban-styled Bratz line, which MGA launched in 2001.

MGA has denied the allegations in the copyright infringement lawsuit.

Bryant has said Mattel wants to co-opt the Bratz line, which he claims he did not take beyond the idea stage until after he left the company.

The jury trial is scheduled to begin May 29.