Commissioned drawing of Santa Claus & copyrights

A professional illustrator is commissioned by a Dutch broadcasting company to make a silhouette drawing of a Santa-Claus figure seated on horseback. A few years later, this image (be it mirrored or not) finds its way onto gift-wrapping paper (beside other drawings). The wrapping paper can be purchased online. The vendor also claims having the copyrights on this design. Because the image was used without permission and because of the unjust copyright claim, this forms an infringement of the copyright and personality rights of the original creator. The damage is estimated at € 5.000, -. So far it’s a simple / clear case.

However, the paper vendor had itself commissioned a design studio to make these designs (costing €600, - per design). For that reason, the damages claim is transferred onwards to the design studio. Is that right? The judge finds it to be. The paper vendor was entitled to assume that the designs could be used freely, not infringing on the rights of third parties. The design studio was immediately informed when the illustrator first reported and should have taken action in order to prevent the case from escalating. As a consequence: the design studio has to pay over € 10,000 in compensation for unauthorized use and litigation costs. Source image:


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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