The owners of internet legend Grumpy Cat have been awarded a cool $710,000 over an intellectual property disagreement by a California federal court
Cast your minds way back to 2010 when Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce, was posted to Reddit by her long-suffering owner and went viral. People went crazy for her scowling expression and she's one of the best-loved and most successful memes to sweep the internet. Thanks to her underbite and feline dwarfism, she always looks like you woke her up at 5am and there's no coffee in the house, which is a surprisingly big hit. Tardar Sauce has appeared on every major US news station, she's been on the radio (how?) and she even made an appearance on the Bachelorette finale. She has 2.4m followers on Instagram and she's got merchandise in my local Pets at Home, so she's more successful than any of us can ever dream of being. A disagreement over merchandise, however, has landed her business partners in some hot water.
Grumpy Cat Limited, the parent company of the cat-based business ventures, have sued the owners of US coffee company 'Grenade' for exceeding an agreement over the cat's image. Their contract states that the company only had rights to use the cat to sell its "Grumppuccino" iced drink and it turns out they were actually selling iced coffee, roasted coffee AND Grumppuccino t-shirts which goes far and above the original deal. A court filing claimed Grenade has subsequently "blatantly infringed" Grump Cat's copyright and trademark. The coffee chain then countersued on the grounds that the cat and its owners had not held up their side of the deal, which apparently included talking about the brand on social media and TV and featuring the scowling kitty in a Jack Black/Will Ferrell film.
The 8-person jury decided to throw out the counter-suit and award the Grumpy family $710,001 in damages but Grumpy Cat remains unmoved.