Grumpy Cat, the internet meme turned feline celebrity, has made her owners millions of dollars thanks to her “unique facial expression,” according to TorrentFreak. With these impressive earnings, it is understandable for her owners to be protective of the cat’s copyrights and trademarks, thus explaining their decision to sue California’s Grenade Beverage for copyright infringement.
The beginning of the lawsuit reads, “Ironically, while the world-famous feline Grumpy Cat and her valuable brand are most often invoked in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, Defendants’ despicable misconduct here has actually given Grumpy Cat and her owners something to be grumpy about.” The dispute is over Grenade’s decision to sell Grumpy coffee beans despite being told by Grumpy’s owners that the coffee beans fell outside of Grenade’s license agreement.
Previous to this incident, Grenade produced a Grumpy Cat ‘Grumppuccino’ iced coffee beverage, which was legally produced as Grenade licensed the copyright and trademarks for the iced coffee. Grumpy’s owners argue that the new line of coffee beans bearing Grumpy’s name and likeness required separate approval. Despite making this clear to Grenade both verbally and in writing, Grenade launched the product anyway.
Grumpy’s owners are looking to stop the sales of the coffee beans, hold Grenade responsible for various and trademark infringements. They are also looking to take over the GrumpyCat.com domain name, which is currently owned by Grenade.