Quorn was hit by copyright claims upon launching its new vegan, unicorn-shaped UniQuorn nuggets last month.
The vegetarian brand promoted the new family-friendly mycoprotein nuggets, with an animation of unicorns, mushrooms, and dinosaurs. (The new release follows the success of Quorn’s Roarsomes Vegan Dinosaurs last year.)
The UniQuorns launch was overshadowed by claims of copyright breach from cartoonist Jonti Picking. Aka Mr. Weebl, Picking released the viral animation Badgers in 2003. The former features similar imagery and styling.
Accusations of copyright infringement
Picking took exception to Quorn’s advert for its new release. It featured flash animation work highly reminiscent of his own, colloquially dubbed the “Badger Badger Badger Song.”
The two both feature similarly stylized animation aesthetics, leading social media users to question if Picking had worked with Quorn to create the advert.
When it transpired that he hadn’t been involved in the project but was aware of the work, Picking replied to a Tweet from Quorn promoting the new nuggets. In a now-deleted Tweet, he wrote: “Hi. Who do I contact about the blatant ripping off of my copyrighted work this time?”
Ponderosa, the Leeds-based creative agency in charge of the project, did not appear to immediately respond to Picking’s calls for acknowledgment.
Quorn makes things right
Within one hour of Picking’s Tweet, Quorn responded publicly, writing: “Hey @TheWeebl, here at Quorn, we are HUGE fans of yours and the iconic Badger, Badger, Badger – it’s been stuck in our head since 2003. If you could please send us a DM with your best email address and phone number, we can chat in more detail.”
Twitter users who were watching the spat unfold remained unimpressed, one Tweeted: “Shameless rip-off. See you in quort!”
After revealing that he hoped the issue could be resolved amicably, Picking entered into negotiations with Quorn. This resulted in a joint statement sent to The Grocer, one day later.
“Following some positive discussions Jonti has agreed to collaborate on a revised version of the UniQuorns film, produced under license, which Quorn acknowledge is what should have happened in the first place,” it read.
As well as being compensated for revising the advert, Picking was also in receipt of damages for original copyright infringement. The reparation amount has not been disclosed, but it appears that Ponderosa will be paying, not Quorn.