California Intellectual Property Blog


#GrumpyCat Sues Grenade Beverage for #Copyright Infringement

cat-lickingLos Angeles – The owners of internet sensation “Grumpy Cat” filed a lawsuit against coffee maker Grenade Beverage. The lawsuit claims that Grenade exceeded the bounds of a 2013 license agreement when it made Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee and Grumppuccino branded t-shirts. The license only specifically provided for use of the famous cat name for its Grumppuccino iced drink.

The lawsuit also claims that Grenade did not give Grumpy Cat LLC a percentage of the Grumppuccino profits or provide sales and profit numbers, as was required in the license.

Grumpy Cat became popular in 2012 after her now-famous photo was posted online. The cat was born in 2012 and given the name “Tardar Sauce.” She is not a grumpy cat according to her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, but she has feline dwarfism and an underbite that causes her grumpy appearance. The owners of Grumpy Cat have capitalized on the cat’s appearance.

“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,” reads the original lawsuit by Grumpy Cat.

Grenade Beverage, a coffee company based out of Los Angeles, CA, has taken down its website and closed all of its social media accounts. This lawsuit started last year, but Grenade did not reply to the allegations at that time. This spring the company stated that the original licensing agreement wasn’t “straight forward.”

“Here, the magnitude of Grenade’s willful infringement of Plaintiff’s Grumpy Cat Copyrights, willful disregard of this Court’s authority, and refusal to stop its blatant infringement renders Plaintiff entitled to a $150,000 statutory damages award for each of the Grumpy Cat Copyrights, in a total amount of $600,000,” a motion reads.

In addition to the $600,000 sum listed in claim, Grumpy Cat LLC wants all the profits that Grenade gained from selling anything related to the famous cat plus $15,000 in legal fees. The owners of Grenade Beverage have now filed a counterclaim saying it is the owner of the Grumpy Cat coffee-related trademarks and copyrights.


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