Everyone loves Felix the Cat, right? And everyone loves those Kit-Cat clocks with the black cat with the big eyes, right? Well, did you ever think they were maybe TOO similar? Well, the Felix folks think they are and have sued the Kit-Cat Clock Co., saying it’s a “blatant rip-off” guilty of violating over 100 copyrights.

The scrap is a bit unexpected. After all, the two fur balls have been sharing the spotlight quite nicely for more than 60 years.

Felix came first, and claims to be the world’s first “true movie cartoon character” because of his 1920s appearance in a short titled “Feline Follies.”

Kit-Cat emerged a decade later during the Depression. Promotional materials boast that it brought “mystery and excitement” to a nation in need of “a smile and friend.”

In recent years, Kit-Cat has made a comeback on the Internet and at upscale retailers such as Restoration Hardware, even putting the image on T-shirts, mugs and watches.

Say that reminds us, we just got the BESTEST t-shirt EVAH!
04-11-07 0323
[Link via Boing Boing, of course.]


  1. Being an IP attorney, although not extremely knowledgable concerning copyrights per se, I doubt that Felix the Cat has a chance of winning.

    Usually the injured party needs to show reasonable due dilligence to bring an action or alert the infringing party of the infrigment within a reasonable time. I doubt that any court would find that waiting sixty years when both products are fairly well known the the public during that time would be considered reasonable.

    At least in trademarks, a trademark holder must bring an action against an infringer within a reasonable time period to protect their trademark. If they allow a infringment to continue unchallenged, their trademark weakens, as the courts consider their non-action as essentially willfully giving up their trademark rights.

  2. Weird. Is there a statute of limitations on copyright infringement, if indeed that is what this is? Did someone at the Felix the Cat company just notice this similarity after 60 years? When was the last time the Felix character was actually used for anything, anyway?

    Also, not EVERYONE loves those clocks. My girlfriend gets really creeped out by them.

  3. I don’t think the objection is the clocks.

    I think it’s licensing the image of the clocks on other things that the Felix image has been sold on.

    Kinda like Apple Corps Ltd and Apple existing amicably until the iTunes store opened up.