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Norshtein to Trademark ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’

The hedgehog monument in Kiev, shyly carrying raspberry jam for his tea. Mariya Mykhaylova

Russian animator Yury Norshtein’s internationally beloved “Hedgehog in the Fog” will be registered as a trademark by his on-screen creator.

“All and sundry are using the hedgehog and are putting his picture on different things,” Norshtein told Russian newspaper “Izvestia.”

The process of registering the trademark is expected to take three to four months and will cost the animator some 1 million rubles. Under Russian patent law, the recognition of the trademark means that the copyright will be extended to all products.

“This is the first cartoon character that is registered in Russia as well-known trademark,” Anatoly Aronov, president of “The First Patent Company,” told the paper.

The cartoon is based on a fairy tale by writer Sergei Kozlov, who died in 2010. According to Norshtein, registration will not require his relatives’ consent.

“We are talking about the character, not the script — the character is associated with the artist,” Norshtein said.

The 1975 cartoon, which was produced by Moscow’s Soyuzmultfilm studio, outlines the journey of a small timid hedgehog making his way through the eerie fog to meet his friend, a bear, to drink tea. On the way, he encounters various animals and shapes which fade in and out of the thick mist, including a mischievous eagle owl.

The film has won several prizes worldwide in “best animated film” categories, with Norshtein himself being named “People’s Artist of Russia” in 1996. In Kiev in 2009, a monument was constructed to the hedgehog in recognition of its place in the hearts of Russians and Eastern Europeans.

According to marketers, the registration of the little Hedgehog is a “coup” that could result in significant profit. The image is popular primarily in the “kidalty” category — adults who have retained their childhood culture — said Izvestia.

“At first, it was almost a sign of a hidden struggle for intellectuals, then it became a symbol of visual culture from marginalized groups, and it later became popular among students,” Nicholas Corot, member of the board of Guilded Marketeers told the paper.

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