Grumpy Cat has a lot of reasons to be less grumpy this week — 710,001 reasons to be exact.
The Grumpy Cat Limited company was awarded $710,001 in damages on Monday when a California jury decided that the beverage company Grenade was guilty of infringing on its copyright and trademark.
“I think, first of all, that it’s a just verdict. The jury followed the law and facts and reached a verdict that was justified based on the law and the facts,” David Jonelis of Lavely & Singer, Grumpy Cat’s lawyer, told TheWrap. “It’s nice that my client’s rights were vindicated on this. It was a hard fought battle.”
Grumpy Cat Limited, formed by Tabatha Bundesen to monetize the viral fame of her sour-faced cat (real name, Tardar Sauce), sued Grenade in 2015, claiming the company used the cat’s image on several of its products, despite only having the rights to sell a line of iced coffees called “Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino.”
The Grumpy Cat image appeared on Grenade’s roasted coffee line and tee-shirts, neither of which were part of the original deal.
Grenade filed its own countersuit, claiming Grumpy Cat didn’t hold up its end of the bargain and failed to promote the brand as outlined under the terms of the deal. However, the jury wasn’t moved by its argument and ultimately decided in favor of the meme.
“It’s important precedent when you have something like a meme online,” Jonelis said. “It’s the first verdict ever rendered in favor of a viral meme. Memes have rights too.”