BRUSSELS: European Union (EU) has fined the Japanese company Hello Kitty. EU blamed for restricting cross-border online sales of toys, mugs, bags and other products featuring the cartoon cat girl.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust commissioner, said that Hello Kitty was fined 6.2 million euros ($7 million) because the company violated the bloc’s competition rules with licensing agreements that banned traders from selling merchandise in different countries in the bloc.
The commission found Sanrio’s illegal practices were in force for 11 years until December.
Created in 1974, the bewhiskered, mouthless Hello Kitty has become a global icon with fans of all ages. Sanrio says she can be found on 50,000 different branded products sold in 130 countries. The company also owns rights to other animated characters including the “Mr. Men” and “Little Miss” series.