BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union authorities have fined the Japanese company behind Hello Kitty for restricting cross-border sales of toys, mugs, bags and other products featuring the cartoon cat girl.
The EU’s antitrust commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Tuesday that Sanrio Co. was fined $7 million because the company violated the bloc’s competition rules with licensing agreements that banned traders from selling merchandise in different countries.
The commission, which launched its investigation in 2017, found Sanrio’s illegal practices were in force for 11 years until December.
Hello Kitty, created in 1974, is a global icon with fans of all ages. Sanrio also owns rights to other animated characters including the “Mr. Men” and “Little Miss” series.