Antitrust Case 40432 | Character merchandise

Author (Corporate)
Series Details AT.40432
Publication Date 2017-2019
Content Type ,

Summary:

Reports and information on the in-depth investigation conducted by the European Commission into certain licensing and distribution practices of Sanrio.

Further information:

Licensed merchandising products are extremely varied but all carry one or more logos or images protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs). Through a licensing agreement, one party (a licensor) allows another party (a licensee) to use one or more of its IPRs in a certain product. Licensors typically grant non-exclusive licenses to increase the number of merchandising products in the market and their territorial coverage.

In June 2017, the European Commission opened an antitrust investigation into certain licensing and distribution practices of Sanrio to assess whether it illegally restricted traders from selling licensed merchandise cross-border and online within the EU Single Market. The investigation found that Sanrio imposed a number of direct measures restricting out-of-territory sales by licensees, and also implemented a series of measures as an indirect way to encourage compliance with the out-of-territory restrictions.

The Commission concluded that Sanrio's illegal practices - in force from 2008 until 2018 - partitioned the Single Market and prevented licensees in Europe from selling products cross-border, to the ultimate detriment of European consumers. On 9 July, the Commission decided to impose a fine amounting to €6.2 million for banning traders from selling licensed merchandise to other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), concerning products featuring Hello Kitty or other characters owned by Sanrio.

Source Link http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=1_40432
Related Link(s)
News
Deutsche Welle, 09/07/2019: Hello Kitty producer slapped with EU fine for restricting sales https://p.dw.com/p/3LnLq
RTÉ News, 09/07/2019: EU fines Hello Kitty €6.2m for competition breach https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/0709/1061020-eu-fines-hello-kitty-6-2m-for-competition-breach/
Bloomberg, 09/07/2019: Hello Kitty Owner Sanrio Fined $7 Million in Antitrust Ruling https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-09/eu-fines-hello-kitty-owner-7-million-in-antitrust-ruling
The New York Times, 10/07/2019: Hello Kitty’s Parent Company Fined $6.9 Million by E.U. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/business/hello-kitty-sanrio-european-union-antitrust.html
MarketWatch, 10/07/2019: EU fines Hello Kitty owner $7 million for breaking antitrust laws https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hello-kitty-owner-fined-7-million-for-antitrust-violations-2019-07-10

Official
European Commission: Press Release, 09/07/2019: Commission fines Sanrio €6.2 million for restricting cross-border sales of merchandising products featuring Hello Kitty characters http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-3950_en.htm

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