Hachette Livre, the owner of the worldwide rights to the Asterix comic books, has confirmed to Ekstra Bladet that it intends to take legal action against Café Obelix in Vesterbro for its widespread use of the books’ character names, likenesses and fonts in its menus, facade and branding.
Juliet Tillet, an executive responsible for foreign rights at the French publisher, has confirmed that a Danish legal firm has already been employed, and that the Copenhagen café had been told to desist immediately.
Alcohol no magic potion
“We are considering what steps we need to take to bring this infringement to an end,” she confirmed.
Hachette, which only found out about the infringement “recently” according to the tabloid, is also believed to be concerned that the café sells alcohol and tobacco products and is open at nighttime – all values that are contrary to its ethos.
Gunning for the owner
Nevertheless, Ekstra Bladet’s reportage of the expected legal action appeared to be more preoccupied with the café’s hygiene and behaviour of Soren Nissen, the the owner since 2009.
Nissen, who denies violating the rights, is accused by the tabloid of relentlessly watching his employees via CCTV and calling up to check up on them, as well as running a café that fails to meet hygiene standards despite repeated warnings and fines from the national food authority, Fødevarestyrelsen.