Peppa Pig has been dragged into the conflict between Russia and the West, after a Russian judge said Russians are free to use the children’s cartoon character in retaliation against Western sanctions.
A judge in the Russian city of Kirov said Russian businesses are free to copy Peppa Pig and create their own versions of the copyrighted character, after Canadian TV company Entertainment One sued a Russian entrepreneur for creating his own copy of the children’s character.
Entertainment One – which was acquired by Hasbro in 2019 – sued Russian entrepreneur Ivan Kozhevnikov for 40,000 roubles (£275) after he drew up his own copy of the anthropomorphic pig without obtaining the TV company’s permission.
Citing the “unfriendly actions of the United States of America and affiliated countries,” Kirov judge Andrei Slavinsky dismissed Entertainment One’s case against the entrepreneur, and said Russian’s are free to use the character, in a ruling that could open the door for further trademark infringements.
The ruling comes after the Russian government set out plans to roll back intellectual property rights for Western multinationals, with a view to countering the impacts of sanctions.
Last week, the Kremlin said businesses are under no obligation to pay to use trademarks, if those companies are based in countries that have sanctioned Russia. The comments came after Russian government unblocked the country’s biggest torrent site, RuTracker.