I have to admit that children’s characters are not something I have spent much of my time thinking about since my kids left primary school some years ago. Despite this, the distinctive Hello Kitty brand has successfully impinged itself on my consciousness.
Such strong and simple designs obviously have a wide appeal. However, the lesson is that you need to ensure that yours are truly unique to avoid potentially damaging copyright wrangles.
A recent story from the Evening Standard about Cathy from the Hello Kitty range illustrates this problem (Hello Kitty waves goodbye to friend Cathy).
In the resulting settlement Sanrio promised to drop the character Cathy. And both will donate £135,000 to the victims of the earthquake in Japan, rather than spend more money on legal fees.