What do Peppa Pig and Intellectual Property have in common?
To answer your question immediately – both are among the hot topics in the Balkans these days. The hospitality industry in Croatia – bakers and pastry shops, in particular – have received some unpleasant news at the start of 2016. From now on, it is forbidden to place and use cartoon characters of Peppa pig, Sponge Bob, Ninja Turtles, Disney’s Frozen and Star Wars characters on cakes and other pastries, since it is a copyright violation.
The memo was sent to all independent bakers and pastry shops by the orders of Fun cake shop from Zagreb, the only bakery with licenses to use these animated characters. Since they have a license to make and distribute these cakes and pastries and need to follow specific and strict guidelines from the authors, it was only logical to hire a law company to protect their own rights, as well as the authors’.
The news was received with outrage and shock from other bakers, since they argue that cakes and pastries are hand-made, and they shouldn’t be subject to copyright violations charges. Also, other bakers say that the rules are non-specific, and they don’t understand where the boundaries are– does it apply to all Disney characters, does it apply to figurines bought by parents, etc. One thing is certain, bakeries that continue to make “cartoon cakes” will face a 13,000 to 39,000€ fine.
Intellectual property advocates have welcomed the news – since this is the first time that intellectual property rights and violations are publicly and seriously discussed in the Balkans. We believe this is a small, but significant, step towards making a clear path to reaching European standards when it comes to someone’s intellectual property, inventions and patents. The goal now is to set clear instructions and guidelines for everybody to follow and apply in their business.
What are your thoughts about this baking conundrum?