Grumpy Cat wins $710,000 In Copyright Lawsuit

Jan 25, 2018 | Blog

The famously moody looking cat was at the centre of a copyright infringement case in a California Federal Court which culminated with the jury ruling in favour of her human pet Tabatha Bundsen. A California jury voted to award $710,000 to Grumpy Cat Limited, a company launched to monetise the permanently scowling kitty’s popularity in a dispute over use of the cat’s name and image. Grumpy Cat Limited sued the owners of US coffee company Grenade for exceeding an agreement over the cat’s image. Bundesn’s company Grumpy Cat Ltd argued that the coffee company only had rights to use the cat to sell its “Grumppuccino” but no other products. The cat, real name Tardar Sauce went viral in 2012 when Bundsen’s brother posted a picture on Reddit of her sour expression which went viral, spawning reams of “lolcat” memes. The Internet fame soon turned into hard cash as Grumpy Cat became a celebrity in her own right, making cameos in films and TV shows, appearing at Comicon and red carpet premiers and featuring in a host of lucrative merchandise deals.

In 2013 Grenade Beverage, owned by father and son Nick and Paul Sandford, struck a $150,000 deal to market iced coffee beverages with the cat's scowl on its packaging. But in 2015 Grumpy Cat Limited sued them for breaching that contract. Grumpy Cat herself made a brief appearance during the January trial, but was not present for the verdict. The cat's perpetually sad and unique expression is said to be caused by feline dwarfism and an under bite - when the lower jaw extends forward.

The six-year-old cat now has a company in her name, and a range of merchandise - including clothing, calendars and soft toys. She has travelled the world making television appearances and in 2014, the cat even starred in her own Christmas film.