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Bunny battle settled

16 June 2011

The long standing dispute between the creators of Miffy and Hello Kitty’s companion Cathy has finally been settled.

Miffy, a small white female rabbit, was created in 1955 by Dick Bruna. Cathy, also a small white female rabbit, was created by Sanrio in 1976.

In 2010 Mercis Media BV (Mr Bruna’s copyright management firm) brought trade mark and copyright infringement proceedings against Sanrio. Why it took Mr Bruna 34 years to bring proceedings is unclear…

Sanrio was ordered to stop production, sale and marketing of Cathy character goods in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and to pay €25,000 per day if it did not comply, up to a maximum of €2m.

Sanrio appealed and filed a counter claim seeking the Miffy trade mark be removed from the register.

The matter has now been resolved, with Sanrio agreeing to no longer use the Cathy character. Both parties have also agreed to donate €150,000 jointly to the victims of the Japan earthquake. A very commendable settlement indeed.

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