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Hello Kitty owner targets counterfeiters in trademark infringement suit

Written by Laura Cannon- Solent University student on 13 February 2019

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On February 2nd 2019 a complaint was filed by the owner of popular children’s character ‘Hello Kitty’ against a Californian based company due to the allegation that it is producing counterfeit products that infringe the ‘Hello Kitty’ trademarks and copyright. Japan headquartered Sanrio is the exclusive owner of all ‘Hello Kitty’ trademarks and stated the counterfeiter’s known as ‘Gearlaunch’ owns and operates numerous websites in which they manufacturer ‘Hello Kitty’ apparel without a license and have also sold apparel that infringed some of its other characters including, Dear Daniel, Kerropi and My Melody.

Sanrio described the “substantially identical likeliness” between the protected trademarks and the ‘GearLaunch’ products. Sanrio explained how they had sent ‘GearLaunch’ at least five written notices of its alleged unauthorised activities but received no response and the Californian Company continued to manufacture, advertise, sell and distribute counterfeit products.

Sanrio has expressed the substantial damage they have endured as a result of the counterfeits and seek to gain $2million per trademark infringement, they have also asked the court to order ‘GearLaunch’ to cease all production and distribution of the allegedly infringing goods.

At this stage there is no mention of the court’s decision so it will be interesting to see the court’s response to such allegations.

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