The bunny battle is over – and for a good cause.
Sanrio Co., home of Hello Kitty, and Mercis BV of the Netherlands have agreed to drop a courtroom spat over whether the Japanese company’s rabbit character Cathy is too much like famed Dutch rabbit Miffy and instead donate 150,000 euros ($220,000) each to help the reconstruction of the area struck by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. And everybody’s happy, not least investors in Sanrio: Shares in the company rose to an 11-year-high in Tokyo as the specter of potentially costly ligitation evaporated without any dents to Hello Kitty’s reputation in Europe, a key business area for Sanrio.
Back in November, a court in Amsterdam upheld most of Mercis’ claims, ordering Sanrio to halt production of goods related to Cathy in regions including the Netherlands. In response, Sanrio filed a suit demanding a suspension of Miffy’s trademark.
But the aftermath of March 11 brought a thaw in previously frosty relations. The firm managing Miffy’s copyright suggested dropping the case after Miffy’s creator Dick Bruna, 83 years old, replied to a request from daily paper Asahi Shimbun seeking a message of hope. In response, Mr. Bruna faxed a message accompanying a teary Miffy saying, “My best wishes to Japan.”
Read the rest of the story: Bunny Battle Resolved: Miffy, Cathy Kiss and Make Up.