EU Raises Hackles Over Hello Kitty, Fines Sanrio €6.2M

Law360 (July 9, 2019, 9:30 PM EDT) -- The European Union's antitrust watchdog has hit Hello Kitty's intellectual property owner Sanrio with a €6.2 million ($6.95 million) fine for allegedly restricting sales of licensed merchandise among countries within the bloc.

The fine on Monday follows a two-year EU investigation into certain licensing and distribution practices by Sanrio Co. Ltd. to find out whether it illegally restricted traders from selling licensed merchandise cross-border and online within the EU single market. But the EU shaved 40% of the fine in return for Sanrio's cooperation.

The fine concerns restrictions on merchandise with Hello Kitty — which the EU describes as an "anthropomorphic...

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