Grumpy Cat is grumpier than usual, and not just because the holidays are nearing. A legal scuffle has the cat hissing in anger over the use of its image. Grumpy Cat Ltd., which owns the rights to the famous feline’s likeness, has filed suit against the drink company Grenade Beverages for allegedly using Grumpy Cat’s face and likeness on coffee products without permission, according to the lawsuit.
The product in question is a line of coffee grounds with the face and likeness of Grumpy Cat (whose real name is Tardar Sauce) on the packaging.
The first line of the lawsuit reads, “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.”
Here's what apparently went wrong: Grumpy Cat Ltd. gave Grenade Beverages limited rights to use Grumpy Cat’s likeness for an iced-coffee drink called the “Grumppuccino,” but the drink company proceeded to use Grumpy Cat’s likeness on other coffee products that the feline’s organization did not authorize, the document said.
Grenade Beverages faces multiple charges including copyright and trademark infringement as well as cybersquatting, or running a website domain that takes advantage of a trademark belonging to someone else. Grenade Beverages’ website is grumpycat.com. Grumpy Cat Ltd.’s website is grumpycats.com
One of Grenade Beverage’s partners, Paul Sandford, was apparently warned several times to not proceed with the ground coffee products. “You are not authorized to proceed with the ground coffee product, and your posting of these products for sale will constitute a clear breach of the subject licensing agreement … Do NOT proceed with the posting of the ground coffee products,” one email said, according to the suit.
Neither party responded to a request for comment.