Vietnam’s ‘Wolfoo’ howls foul at UK’s ‘Peppa Pig’
Vietnamese firm Sconnect, which runs several YouTube channels for young children including the “Wolfoo” franchise, has sued UK-based owners of the “Peppa Pig" character set, for intellectual property (IP) infringement.
The 450-episode Peppa Pig revolves around Peppa, a sweet but cheeky anthropomorphic female piglet and her family and peers. First aired in 2008, the animated television series is available in a number of European countries and the UK. Its trademark has been registered only in Europe and the UK.
“Wolfoo” which features animated videos about a cartoon wolf and his anthropomorphic friends made its debut in 2018. About 2,500 videos have been produced so far, translated into 17 languages and released on YouTube, social networks, television and other online platforms in many countries.
It has been registered for brand protection in Vietnam, the U.S and Russia and recognized in all 181 member countries of the Berne Convention, an international agreement adopted in 1886 to deal with the protection of works and rights of their authors. Vietnam joined the convention in October 2004.
Sconnect’s lawsuit against the two London-based firms, Entertainment One UK Ltd. and Astley Baker Davies Ltd., commonly known as EO, has been filed in the Hanoi People’s Court. It accuses EO of illegally using the “Wolfoo” trademark in “Peppa Pig” videos, violating the Vietnamese Intellectual Property Law.
The company wants the court to issue a ruling asking EO to stop the trademark infringement and publicly apologize for its violation in three international newspapers.
Sconnect had submitted a complaint in March to the Vietnam Competition Authority over EO’s unfair competition practices, violating the nation’s Law on Competition.
The Vietnamese firm, which boasts more than 130 million followers across its YouTube channels and social network accounts, said EO had provided unconfirmed information to Sconnect’s partners, damaging the reputation and honor of the firm as well as its “Wolfoo” character set.
EO has also used many tricks to disrupt and suspend Sconnect's business in the digital environment, leading to significant economic losses, estimated at $300,000, to the Vietnamese studio, the firm asserts.
Sconnect has stated that it will also file a suit against EO in September for impersonating the owner of the “Wolfoo” character set and using technical measures to illegally circumvent its IP rights. The acts have violated the Intellectual Property Law.
It was EO that fueled the IP dispute with Sconnect in Russia, alleging that “Wolfoo” was a remake of “Peppa Pig.” However, during proceedings at the Court of Moscow, Sconnect presented legal evidence and documents testifying to its IP rights to the “Wolfoo” character set and the cartoon.
EO had to withdraw its suit on July 7 after Russian literature and art experts concluded that the EO experts whose opinions had been pooled for the case did not have enough capability to evaluate and the content of their assessments are beyond their authority. The lawsuit documents and expert opinions that EO had previously sent to the court, therefore, violated relevant Russian Laws, they said.
The Russian experts also affirmed that the “Wolfoo” character set was not a “reworked” version of “Peppa Pig”.
The same day, the Court of Moscow officially terminated the civil proceedings, saying EO cannot file a claim with the same accusation against Sconnect in the future.
Sconnect then filed a lawsuit against EO with the Moscow court for compensation.
In a related development, EO filed a lawsuit against Sconnect with the UK High Court in February, which has not been accepted yet. However, EO still went ahead and claimed copyright for “Wolfoo” videos. Furthermore, YouTube accepted it, resulting in significant economic losses for Sconnect, it claimed.
Sconnect is a Vietnamese digital content enterprise that has produced cartoons for children since 2014. Apart from “Wolfoo”, Sconnect has developed other animated character sets such as WOA Fairy Tales, Max's Puppy Dog, Tiny - Clay Mixer and WOA Luka.
Tubefilter, a widely-read source for YouTube and online video news, says the “Wolfoo” channel attracts more than 50 million followers and 2 billion views each month, and has reached 30 billion views since its release. It has been named repeatedly in the top 50 YouTube channels with the most views.
Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index dropped 17.55 points Thursday to 1,126.07, despite newly-released data showing the country’s nine-month GDP growth hitting 8.83%, a record high in 12 years.
Finance - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 5:18 pm GTM+7
Hoa Phat Group has begun production at its new home appliance factory worth VND1,000 billion ($42 million) in Ha Nam province.
Industries - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 4:28 pm GTM+7
The U.S., EU, China and South Korea imported nearly $27 billion worth of phones and components from Vietnam in the first eight months of the year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Economy - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 4:06 pm GTM+7
The northern port city of Hai Phong seeks to build 15 more industrial parks totaling 6,200 hectares to attract $15 billion in foreign direct investment in 2020-2025.
Industries - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 3:13 pm GTM+7
Vietnamese tech giant Viettel has selected Taiwanese 5G solutions supplier UfiSpace to jointly deploy disaggregated cell site gateways for Viettel’s massive 5G rollout in Vietnam.
Industries - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 2:27 pm GTM+7
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed that the government includes five coal-fired thermal power projects in the national power development plan VIII.
Energy - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 1:16 pm GTM+7
Vietnam’s economic growth of 8.83% year-on-year in the first nine months is the highest recorded in 12 years.
Economy - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 12:19 pm GTM+7
Vietnam is an increasingly attractive and important investment destination for U.S. firms, and one of the five most significant locations for Warburg Pincus, its CEO Charles Kaye said Wednesday.
Industries - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 11:05 am GTM+7
Japan's Tokyo Gas and Kyuden Group have inked a memorandum of understanding with Truong Thanh Vietnam JSC on jointly developing an LNG-to-power project with a phase-one capacity of 1,500 megawatts in northern Vietnam.
Energy - Thu, September 29, 2022 | 6:30 am GTM+7
Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index dropped 22.92 points Wednesday, or 1.96%, to 19-month low of 1,143.62 points, due to broad selloffs of major stocks.
Finance - Wed, September 28, 2022 | 6:05 pm GTM+7
Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung and Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant to Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, were fired Wednesday for violations related to repatriation of Vietnamese citizens during the pandemic crisis.
Politics - Wed, September 28, 2022 | 5:21 pm GTM+7
The World Bank’s investment arm IFC will assist Ho Chi Minh City authorities to assess the prefeasibility of developing an advanced waste-to-energy facility in the southern economic hub, the body said Wednesday.
Energy - Wed, September 28, 2022 | 4:25 pm GTM+7
International institutions have lowered their global 2023 growth forecasts following the Fed’s interest rate hikes. Experts fear that investment flows worldwide would leave emerging markets for developed countries. The Investor talks with Professor Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign-Invested Enterprises (VAFIE), about possible impacts on Vietnam.
Executive Talk - Wed, September 28, 2022 | 3:05 pm GTM+7