Peppa Pig has gotten caught up in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the development could have implications for other entertainment IPs.
eOne’s billion-dollar franchise has found itself at the heart of a Russian retaliatory strategy against economic sanctions. A Russian court has dismissed a case that eOne brought last year against a local entrepreneur who allegedly used the Peppa Pig trademark without permission. And the government has now doubled down on the ruling with its own decree allowing patented inventions and designs to be used without permission or compensation.
The decree opens the door to copyright infringement of brands from many territories that Russia has deemed to be unfriendly in recent weeks, including Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Switzerland. However, it’s likely that Russian companies will use the new rule change to stock up on devices, technologies and (in the case of the entertainment industry) kids content, which could be in short supply amid all the sanctions, according to a statement from Chicago-based law firm Baker McKenzie.
Last week, Disney began pulling all of its business out of Russia after previously halting its film releases there. And Netflix is refusing to carry Russia’s state-backed channels on its platform, which it would have been required to do as of March 1 under a new law.