You may know the internet celebrity Tardar Sauce by her more popular name, Grumpy Cat. She has been the subject of numerous memes. One of the most famous reads, “I had fun once. It was awful.”
But you may not be aware that her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, formed the company Grumpy Cat Limited to capitalize on the cat’s permanently grumpy expression. Since then, Grumpy Cat has made numerous TV appearances, including Today, Good Morning America, The Soup, Anderson Live, American Idol, and even commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios and Friskies cat food. She’s been the subject of a New York Times bestselling book, and her company has produced branded clothing, pillows, mugs, pens, and bags.
In fact, in just a few years, Grumpy Cat Limited is reported to have taken in between $1 million to $100 million dollars.
The disgruntled kitty was also the focus of a recent intellectual property lawsuit between Grumpy Cat Limited and the Grenade beverage company. Grumpy Cat Limited accused Grenade Beverage, LLC of copyright and trademark infringement.
In 2013, the owners of Grenade entered a licensing deal with Grumpy Cat Limited to sell “Grumpy Cat Grumppuccinos,” a line of iced coffees. Then in 2016, they expanded to create “Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee,” which was not part of the initial deal.
Grumpy Cat Limited then filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit in federal court against Grenade. As the complaint stated, Grenade Beverage’s actions had “actually given Grumpy Cat and her owners something to be grumpy about.”
Grumpy Cat Limited also claimed that Grenade sold unauthorized Grumppuccino T-shirts without sharing the profits and wasn’t paying the agreed-upon percentage from the iced coffee profits.
Grenade then filed a countersuit, claiming that Grumpy Cat wasn’t promoting the iced coffee as agreed upon in the initial deal.
The jury disagreed. After a week-long trial, where Grumpy Cat made an appearance in person, Grumpy Cat Limited was awarded over $700,000.
Grumpy Cat still isn’t smiling… but you have to imagine she’s feeling pretty pleased about the outcome!