Nijntje keeps Kathy outside of the Benelux

World famous cat Hello Kitty (developed in 1974) recently got a new friend, Kathy the bunny. Like Hello Kitty, Kathy was a stylized animal, characterized by thick lines and a lack of depth. Eager to exploit Kathy commercially Sanrio immediately granted licenses to manufacturers of clothing and toys.  

In the Benelux H&M(clothes) and Bart Smit(toys) started selling Kathy merchandise. This, however, did not go well with Mercis, a Dick Bruna owned company that manages all intellectual property rights concerning Nijntje, the world famous bunny.
The court eventually decided that even though Nijntje is a very stylized bunny, she is most certainly an artistic creation, and therefore protected by copyright. Nijntje, like Kathy, is characterized by the thick lines and elementary colors. The proportion of the head in relation to the hands and body is almost identical. The court judged that it is clear that Kathy had been copied off Nijntje, the only real difference between them being the mouth and shape of the ears.


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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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