Tardar Sauce the cat, better known as Grumpy Cat, is absurdly famous. She has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, 2.4 million followers on Instagram, and her own Wikipedia page. Do you have a Wikipedia page? Thought not. What’s more, Grumpy Cat just won $710,000 in a copyright lawsuit. So that means she’s also richer than you.
This whole thing got started when Grumpy Cat Limited agreed to lend the feline’s visage out to a coffee company called Grenade. The original deal was for the cat’s likeness to appear on a blend of beverage known as “Grumpuccino”which is ludicrous, but also kind of cute.
Problems arose when the company started using the cat’s likeness for more than just the one drink, though.
Grumpy Cat Limited sued once they found out Grenade was selling Grumpy Cat t-shirts, and other blends of coffee featuring the cat’s likeness. A court filing claimed they had exceeded the deal and “blatantly infringed” their copyrights and trademarks.
To make matters more complicated, Grenade countersued and claimed Grumpy Cat Limited didn’t promote their brand of coffee enough via social media and other platforms of advertisement.
They went to war in the courts for over two years, and finally a verdict was reached. The California federal jury sided with the cat and her owners, ordering the payment of $710,000 in damages for copyright and trademark infringement, as well as a $1 nominal damage fee for breach of contract.
It looks like Grumpy Cat wins again, and the little businesses suffer the consequences. That’s the American court system for ya.