Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Grumpy Cat wins over $700000 in copyright lawsuit

Grumpy Cat in February 2016.   Cindy Ord  Getty Images for SiriusXM Grumpy Cat in February 2016. Cindy Ord Getty Images for SiriusXM
Melody Ballard | 26 January, 2018, 02:40

A picture of the feline - actual name Tardar Sauce - was first shared on Reddit in 2012 and went viral because of her feline dwarfism and underbite, which people thought made her look grumpy.

The company only had rights to use the cat to sell its "Grumppuccino" iced drink, but sold other Grumpy products. But in 2015, the beverage company chose to create a line of "Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee", which was not in the original deal, prompting Grumpy Cat Limited to file a copyright lawsuit in federal court.

California jury found in favour of Grumpy Cat, awarding $701,000.

Grumpy Cat may still be a sourpuss, but her owner has something to smile about after winning more than $700,000 in an intellectual property lawsuit.

However, one licensing arrangement between Grumpy Cat Limited and coffee company Grenade soured when Grenade began using the likeness for more than they were allowed.

Grumpy Cat and her owner Tabatha Bundesen in Washington DC in September 2016.   Larry French  Getty Images for Madame Tussauds
Grumpy Cat and her owner Tabatha Bundesen in Washington DC in September 2016. Larry French Getty Images for Madame Tussauds

The coffee business counter-sued, saying that Grumpy Cat and Ms Bundesen had not held up their end of the deal and had failed to mention the coffee chain's brand name enough on social media and in a TV appearance. The Sandfords paid Bundesen $150,000 in royalties, NPR reported.

She later formed Grumpy Cat Limited, monetizing the dour kitty.

The complaint went on to state that Grenade's T-shirt line "blatantly infringe on the Grumpy Cat copyrights and Grumpy Cat trademarks". They also complained they were told the cat would be appearing in a film alongside Will Ferrell and Jack Black, but this did not happen.

In response, Grumpy Cat Ltd sued Grenade's owners for exceeding an agreement over the cat's image.

"Grumpy Cat feels vindicated and feels the jury reached a just verdict", Grumpy Cat's lawyer David Jonelis said, describing it as "a complete victory".

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