TV giant, Time Warner on Copyright infringement of its cartoon trademark product, BEN 10.
BEN 10 is a popular American cartoon franchise created by Cartoon Networks and “Man of Action”. With three Emmys under its belt, the cartoon has grossed over $22 billion in sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Cartoon Networks Inc., the TV unit of Time Warner wants the Kenyan conglomerate to stop the production of its chewing gum with BEN 10 branded wrapping paper.
According to Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper, Cartoon Network alleged that the association of Kenafric’s chewing gum with its brand can damage the reputation of BEN 10 and goods branded with the label toys, video games and clothing which has been developed over the years through promotions and advertising.
It also claimed that Kenafric has been using its popularity to grow its business and fortune without prior permission of using it trademark.
“The defendant’s (Kenafric) use of the name of BEN 10 amounts to trade mark infringement of BEN 10 Trade Marks. The unauthorised reproduction or adaptation or publication or broadcast or sales or distribution or possession or importation of the offending chewing gum constitutes copyright infringement,” Cartoon Networks vice president, Louise Sams says in a document filed at the Milimani Commercial court.
Sams says both company use the same communication channel for distribution and this could easily lead to association of the Kenafric chewing gum with its cartoon.
Cartoon Network is relying on International registration of Trade Mark adopted in 1891 and the international registration of Trade Marks adopted in Madrid in June 1989. The Madrid protocol provides that once a trademark is registered in a country which is signatory to Madrid Protocol. It becomes protected in other countries which have adopted the treaty.
Therefore, having registered BEN 10 as a trademark in the US, Warner says the product is protected in Kenya too.
Kenafric industries began as a retail and wholesale business in 1968 but today, it has become a major manufacturing company in Kenya with focus on food, footwear and stationary.
With presence in about 4 African countries the franchise hopes to expand to 30 countries including the Middle East by 2030.