Russia rejects Peppa Pig trademark infringement claim to retaliate against sanctions for Ukraine war

The cartoon is popular among children, as well as parents such as Boris Johnson

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 14 March 2022 09:17
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Boris Johnson talks about Peppa Pig World during speech to CBI

Russia is using Peppa Pig to retaliate against economic sanctions imposed worldwide against its invasion of Ukraine.

The popular British cartoon – featuring Peppa the pig, her family, and her friends – can now be copied by Russian businesses, without any threat of punishment for trademark infringment, after a court ruling in Russia.

In September, Peppa Pig’s owners Entertainment One took sued a Russian entrepreneur who had created his version of the characters.

The company – that was acquired by Hasbro in 2019 – had demanded that Ivan Kozhevnikov pay 40,000 roubles (up to £400) compensation.

But judge Andrei Slavinsky, at a court in Kirov 600 miles north-east of Moscow, has dismissed the case and has mentioned that the “unfriendly actions of the United States of America and affiliated foreign countries” had influenced the ruling.

Even if the ruling was in Entertainment One’s favour, the compensation would have been reduced to about £230 as a result of the value of the rouble plummeting during the brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Peppa the pig, the protagonist of the popular kids’ cartoon

The court case’s conclusion comes several months after Boris Johnson had voiced his liking for Peppa Pig.

The PM has two young children with wife Carrie, and the family went to visit Peppa Pig World – which he had said, in a bizarre speech to the Confederation of British Industry in November, was “very much [his] kind of place”.

More trademark violations could be seen in the near future, after the Russian government had announced that patented inventions and industrial designs from hostile countries will be allowed to be used without permission or compensation.

Boris and Carrie Johnson at Peppa Pig World with son Wilfred

Earlier this month, the Kremlin issued its list of countries that have imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and businesses in response to Vladimir Putin launching the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

The countries include the UK, the US, Canada, the 27 in the EU, Australia, Ukraine, Iceland, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and about 10 others.

Russian army tank fires at an apartment block in Mariupol, Ukraine

Since the invasion of Ukraine, dozens of well-known companies and brands have cut business ties with Russia.

They include Apple, Ikea, Disney, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Chanel, Hèrmes, L’Oréal, Adidas, Levi’s, Heineken, and Burger King.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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