Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

tom sachs kittys paris Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

In another case of “why’d it take so long to do that,” the Dutch company who owns the “Miffy” rights has won a copyright infringement lawsuit against Sanrio for a bunny character that looks a little too much like theirs.  Dick Bruna, the guy who created Miffy like 45 years ago, has openly accused Hello Kitty of copying his style for, well, probably since Hello Kitty came out in 1974.  Bruna’s Miffy hasn’t always looked like this, however; he changed her design to the current one in the 60’s.

character miffy Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

So okay, that’s 10 years ahead of Hello Kitty. One can only imagine how long Bruna waited for Sanrio to royally screw up and come out with a bunny character so he can sue the pants off Sanrio.  And so they did.   Hello, Kathy…

Kathy Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

But here’s the kicker:  Kathy first came on the scene in 1976!  She’s one of Hello Kitty’s oldest friends.  Sanrio has just now been ordered by an obviously higher than a kite Amsterdam court to cease and desist on all Kathy merchandise in Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.  Honestly, I don’t get it.  This design is so simple, it’s like trying to copyright a circle or a square. I mean really, how many characters out there can be said to look like Miffy?   What about Pucca?

Vector Pucca by wlion Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

Good luck suing Disney.  Here’s my take:  Miffy is hugely popular in Japan.  The franchise has made loads of money there off Miffy over the years not just from merchandise but TV shows as well.  Hello Kitty is a Japanese cultural icon.  Is it worth the risk of an entire country’s boycott over a character that’s been around for 30+ years anyway?

[Sources: Guardian UK, Anime News Network]

pixel Sanrio Sued for Copyright Infringement

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