The Russian-Ukraine conflict brought a trademark infringement case to McDonald’s Peppa PigAAA IPRIGHT2
The Russian-Ukraine conflict has created many heavy consequences worldwide. In the IP world, the damage might not be so clear as in other sectors of society like oil, gas, food, etc. However, there is actually one trademark infringement case deriving from the conflict, the McDonald’s Peppa Pig case.
Peppa Pig is a British cartoon launched in 2004. The show is incredibly successful to the point that its parent company was acquired by Hasbro for $4 billion in 2019.
Peppa Pig is also a multi-layered intellectual property, with books, movies, theme parks, and video games.
Accordingly, with a show like that, it is no wonder that third parties will want to use the brand name to create a profit for their own by selling fake, counterfeit toys or attaching the brand name to their own products, etc.
Trademark infringement case to McDonald’s Peppa Pig
Normally, this action will get immediately stopped by the court in the country where the infringement action takes place.
However, due to the current tension between Russia and the western countries, i.e. the European Union and the United States, etc., Judge Slavinsky in Russia has recently issued a controversial decision stating that “due to ‘unfriendly actions of the United States of America and affiliated foreign countries,’ the trademark for Peppa Pig was now basically unenforceable in Russia.”
The decision comes after the Russian government issued a decree allowing patented inventions and industrial designs from “unfriendly countries” to be used without permission or compensation.
Those deemed “unfriendly” include the UK, USA, Australia, Ukraine, Japan, and EU. Major brands including Apple, IKEA, Disney, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola have halted operations in Russia following threats of boycotts in the West.
This ruling indicates that a Russian organization will now have all the rights to use Peppa Pig’s character and related aspects for commercial purposes, creating unfathomable consequences.
The lawsuit was originally brought by Entertainment One UK, the proprietor of British cartoon favorite Peppa Pig Ltd against Ivan Kozhevnikov for this character.
The mark filed by the defendant is considered deceptively similar to the McDonald’s logo.
Although the ruling creates many different opinions, it should be noted that the suit was filed at the lowest level court for civil disputes, accused Kozhevnikov of infringing the Peppa Pig trademark and other intellectual property, therefore, its judgment can and will be appealed. There is still a decision of the higher courts to be considered and debated.
Govind Chaturvedi, a social media and trademark lawyer said about the conflict and the core responsibility that Russia has to take: “Russia is a signatory to a number of bilateral treaties. Hence legally and technically, they would have to give trademark protection. However, as stated the judgement is of a lower court and we should wait for the appellate court’s decision.”
He further added: “The Action taken by Entertainment One UK Limited is under appeal and we should wait for further developments.”
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