Dick Bruna takes Japanese firm to court
Dutch children's author and illustrator Dick Bruna is taking the Japanese company Sanrio to court. Mr Bruna says the firm has made a virtual carbon copy of his famous rabbit 'Miffy'.
The 83-year old Dutchman argues that Sanrio is taking advantage of the status of Miffy, who is extremely popular in Japan.
The Japanese rabbit 'Kathy' is drawn with the same simple lines, wears an almost identical dress and has very similar ears. The main difference is that Kathy wears a bow. Sanrio launched Kathy internationally last year along with merchandising lines in the form of toys and clothing.
Sanrio also has a successful television character 'Hello Kitty', which is likewise drawn in the Bruna style but is clearly not a rabbit.
Dick Bruna complains that the behaviour of the Japanese company is both damaging him financially and violating his intellectual property rights. The Dutchman created Miffy known as in Dutch back in 1955.
Sanrio had already been asked to stop the marketing of Kathy, but it ignored the request. Dick Bruna has now applied to an Amsterdam court for an injunction demanding an immediate halt to production. He is calling for 50,000 euros a day in damages in case of non-compliance.
The court is expected to pass judgment in two weeks' time.
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