SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – The “despicable misconduct” of selling unauthorized Grumpy Cat roasted coffee has given the famously sullen kitty and her owners “something to be grumpy about,” Grumpy Cat claims in court.
Grumpy Cat Limited sued Grenade Beverage LLC and its owners Paul and Nick Sandford in Federal Court Friday, on copyright, trademark and contract claims.
Grumpy Cat – whose given name is Tardar Sauce – became an Internet sensation in September 2012 when her picture was posted on social media. Her grumpy expression – caused by feline dwarfism – garnered her worldwide media attention.
The famous kitty has appeared on “Good Morning America” and “American Idol,” on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine, and has starred in advertisements for Cheerios and McDonalds.
Grumpy Cat Limited says it owns all rights to Grumpy Cat’s name, image and likeness, and that Grenade Beverage abused it license to use it.
“As a result of plaintiff’s calculated handling of the Grumpy Cat brand alongside professional brand management, over the past few years, plaintiff and its authorized licensees have realized millions of dollars in sales of a wide range of goods and services incorporating the ‘Grumpy Cat’ brand, including without limitation T-shirts, calendars, and plush toys,” the complaint state.
Grumpy Cat Limited says that in May 2013 it gave Grenade Beverage limited rights to use Grumpy Cat’s name and image on a line of Grumpy Cat coffee products The license was for iced-coffee drinks called Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino.
Grumpy Cat says it learned recently that Grenade intends to sell Grumpy Cat roasted coffee, which was not included in the license agreement. It says it repeatedly warned Grenade that it had no right to do this, but did it anyway, selling Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee.
Grenade has is Grumppuccino T-shirts that “blatantly infringe on the Grumpy Cat copyrights and Grumpy Cat trademarks,” according to the complaint.
Grumpy Cat says Grenade also owes it royalties.
“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,” Grumpy Cat says.
It seeks an accounting, ill-gotten gains, an injunction and damages for copyright and trademark infringement and dilution, cybersquatting, and false designation of origin.
Grumpy Cat is represented by David Jonelis with Lavely & Singer, who did not respond immediately over the weekend to an emailed request for comment. Nor did Grenade Beverage.
- State Intervenes in Dallas DA’s Legal Tangle
- El Nino Wreaks Havoc|With Pacific Sea Lions