Grumpy Cat, the viral internet sensation that brought fame to the feline with the permanently miserable expression, has just been awarded $710,000 in an intellectual property lawsuit.
Because of what’s thought to be feline dwarfism and an underbite, Tabatha Bundesen’s cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, looks like the world’s most miserable kitty. But that moody expression saw the pet become famous after photos of her were posted online, leading to a series of internet memes. She went on to star in the TV movie ‘Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,’ made several television appearances, and has a line of merchandise.
But it was this use of Grumpy Cat’s image that lead to the lawsuit at California federal court. Grumpy Cat Ltd. sued the owners of coffee company Grenade for breaking the terms of an agreement. The $150,000 deal allowed Grumpy Cat’s image to appear on the packaging of an iced coffee beverage called ‘Grumppucinos,’ but the company also released ‘Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee’ and began selling Grumppucino T-shirts featuring the cat’s face, which Grumpy Cat Ltd. says “blatantly infringed” their copyrights and trademarks.
Additionally, Grumpy Cat Limited said the percent of profits it was receiving from Grumppucino sales wasn’t what Grenade had agreed to in the contract.
The coffee maker countersued in a suit that claimed Grumpy Cat did not promote the drinks on social media, something it had agreed to as part of the deal. The company was also told the cat would be starring in a movie alongside Will Ferrell and Jack Black, but no such project exists. Grenade says Grumpy Cat’s product manager ‘misrepresented the movie’ so it would sign the deal.
The eight members of the California federal jury ruled in favor of Grumpy Cat Ltd., awarding it $710,000 in damages along with a $1 nominal damage fee for breach of contract.
‘Grumpy Cat feels vindicated and feels the jury reached a just verdict,’ said Grump Cat Ltd. lawyer, David Jonelis.
Courthouse news reports that Grumpy Cat herself was not present during closing arguments, but she did make a brief appearance during the trial.