We all know Grumpy Cat. She rose to internet fame in 2012 as a meme that swept not only the nation, but the world. With her tiny little scowl, she stole the hearts of millions and even has a wax likeness displayed at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in San Francisco. The six-year-old cat’s real name is Tardar Sauce (sic) and she and her owner, Tabatha Bundesen are $710,001 richer thanks to a court’s ruling regarding copyright and trademark infringement.
In 2013, following closely on the tails of Grumpy Cat’s meteoric rise to notoriety, the owners of Grenade Beverage struck a licensing deal to sell a line of iced coffees, Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino. They were fully authorized to use Grumpy Cat’s likeness and name to sell that specific product as long as they shared the profits pursuant to the contract. However, when they started making Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee and Grumppuccino T-shirts, they strayed outside of the terms of the contract and into dangerous territory.
Grumpy Cat Limited filed suit alleging copyright and trademark infringement. Furthermore, the complaint alleged Grenade wasn’t sharing the profits from the roasted coffee and t-shirts and were sharing an incorrect percentage of the profits from the iced coffee line. Grenade then countersued claiming Grumpy Cat Limited was not promoting the coffee.
Recently, a California jury heard the case in federal court and ruled in favor of Grumpy Cat and found that Grenade had infringed on both the Grumpy Cat copyright and trademark. They awarded $710,001 in damages to Grumpy Cat Limited and while Grumpy Cat himself wasn’t there for the verdict, he did make a court appearance to show off that mean little mug on his face.
If you or your business has a contract in which you believe the terms have been broken, please give us a call at 704-457-1010 to schedule a consultation. To learn more about our firm, practice areas, and attorneys, please visit our website at lindleylawoffice.com.