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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Will Strawberry Shortcake escape the Cookie Jar?

According to today's Daily Telegraph, a dispute has erupted over Strawberry Shortcake, heavily-merchandised 30-year-old children's (sic) character. American Greetings, which has owned the brand since the 1980s and has harvested the fruit of licences to DIC, secured an injunction in Ohio last Friday to stop DIC being taken over by predatory Canadian children's TV company Cookie Jar Entertainment.

Right: Ms Shortcake was not available for comment

According to American Greetings, the licence to DIC prohibits the sale of DIC to a competitor without the consent of the brand owner. American Greetings' intellectual properties group head Josef Mandelbaum is quoted as saying:

"We were very open to having a conversation with Cookie Jar and DIC. However, they declined to engage in meaningful discussions with us. With that said, we need to make sure we are doing all we can to protect one of our greatest intellectual properties".
DIC, which expects Strawberry Shortcake and friends to drive in US$28m of its predicted 2008 revenues of US$80m, is quoted as saying it remained fully committed to pursuing the merger with Cookie Jar and that American Greetings' claims were without merit:
"DIC fully intends to pursue all appropriate legal options available to it to overturn the temporary restraining order, prevent the issuance of any further injunctions and pursue the terms of the merger".
The IPKat would dearly like to read the break clauses in the licences which, presumably, are open to such widely differing interpretations. Merpel says, why doesn't American Greetings just buy Cookie Jar and have done with it?

Recipe for Strawberry Shortcake here
Strawberry rash here; strawberry allergy here; Strawbs here
Cookie Jar Monster here

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