Dutch Court: Sanrio’s “Cathy” Character is an Unauthorized Copy of Miffy
A Dutch court has ruled that Cathy the rabbit, a character that is part of Sanrio’s Hello Kitty universe, is actually a rip-off of famous Dutch character Miffy (aka Nijntje):
The ruling came after Mercis BV, a copyright management firm representing Dutch children’s book author and Miffy’s creator Dick Bruna, 83, filed a suit against the Japanese company complaining that it has violated Bruna’s copyrights.
Mercis released a statement saying it is satisfied with the court ruling. It is set to file a damages suit against Sanrio if the Japanese company does not comply with the ruling, which is believed to equal a temporary injunction under the Japanese judiciary system.
The ruling determined that Cathy is an imitation of Miffy and called for immediate halt to production, sale and marketing of Cathy goods in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. It ordered Sanrio to pay 25,000 euros a day in damages in the event of noncompliance.
Unfortunately for the owners of the Miffy copyright, the ruling does not have authority in the many other countries in which Sanrio sells its products.