Netherlands: Every dog has its copyright?
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Netherlands: Every dog has its copyright?

The court of appeal of The Hague recently ruled that the lifelike stuffed animal reproduction of a dog is protected by copyright. This decision once again proves that the threshold for claimants to invoke copyright is quite low.

Enesco, a toy company, manufactures and distributes a stuffed dog called "Boo The World's Cutest Dog". The stuffed animal is based on the actual dog Boo, which is a specially groomed dog that is quite famous. It even has its own FaceBook page, which has 17 million "likes". Enesco, acting as licensee in respect of toys related to the dog Boo, objected to the sale of a more or less identical stuffed dog bearing the name Pom by Dino Trading, claiming that the Pom toy was infringing Enesco's (licensed) copyright in the stuffed Boo dog.

In the Netherlands, copyright is vested in a work that is based on the creative act of the author, and that reflects the author's signature. Banal or trite designs fall outside of the scope of what is protected by copyright. In first instance, the court ruled that the stuffed Boo is nothing more than a realistic reproduction of a real life dog, and therefore, no copyright can be claimed. The Court of Appeal however, is of the opinion that the stuffed Boo is in fact protected by copyright, and that the sale of the Pom dog constitutes an infringement. Given that the definition of what constitutes a work enjoying copyright is harmonised, the Court of Appeal granted the injunction in respect of the EU territory.

This goes to show that little creativity is required to invoke copyright as an author. In any case, manufacturers of lifelike reproduction toys (such as stuffed animals or toy cars) are thrown a bone by this ruling, as it will strengthen their position as copyright owners.



Jurriaan Cleuver

V.O.Johan de Wittlaan 72517 JR The HagueThe NetherlandsTel: +31 70 416 67 11Fax: +31 70 416 67

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

External counsel for automotive companies explain how trends such as AI and vehicle connectivity are affecting their practices and reveal what their clients are prioritising
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The winners of the awards will be revealed at a gala dinner in New York City on April 25
Counsel debate the potential outcome of SCOTUS’s latest copyright case after justices questioned whether they should dismiss it
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career
The small Düsseldorf firm is making a big impact in the UPC. Founding partner Christof Augenstein explains why
The court criticised Oppo’s attempts to delay proceedings and imposed a penalty, adding that the Chinese company may need to pay more if the trial isn’t concluded this year
Miguel Hernandez explains how he secured victory for baby care company Naterra in his first oral argument before the Federal Circuit
The UPC judges are wrong – restricting access to court documents, and making parties appoint a lawyer only to have a chance of seeing them, is madness
The group, which includes the Volkswagen, Seat and Audi brands, is now licensed to use SEPs owned by more than 60 patent owners
Gift this article