Owners of a cat became rich by marketing their cat as a “Grumpy Cat.” As a result, all sorts of products including toys and even a movie were made in the name of being a visibly, unhappy cat. In a one of a kind suit and type of case, copyright infringement was discussed when it came to a cat.
The corporate entity that handled all licensing for Grumpy-cat took a beverage company to suit for violations made in the business of selling coffee. The beverage company had a valid contract that was enforceable and permitted the production of “Grumpy Cat.” Problems came when Grenade Beverage decided to extend that agreement to a line of Grumpy Cat-branded ground coffee without Grumpy Cat Ltd.’s prior consent and approval. As such the question arose as to the infringement of trademark and of copyright. The lawsuit began over the sale of coffee that was unlicensed and marketed under its name. The time span of litigation lasted for over two years. In addition, there was a failure to provide an accounting of sales and profits with no pay a percentage of profits. Shirts were also being sold in the name of that coffee.
This is one of those cases where a lot of time and money that went into having these contracts and joint ventures chartered. However, it was all done for a cat and in the name of its face. Prior to the commencement of litigation, exactly all terms and conditions had been laid out for every variation of the Grump Cat image and brand each time they wanted a new item branded with the cat’s name. The brand name had even extended to memes. Internet culture shapes behavior and the culture that we are talking about. People had started to co-opt into memes which have now become the talk of legal rulings. Once upon a time, memes were free and harmless. Back then, no one would admit to owning anything. The intellectual property associated with Grumpy Cat has changed all that. Any time that someone wants to co-opt a meme, it must be legally sanctioned. Continue reading