No the world hasn’t gone mad, but it’s getting close as feline internet star Grumpy Cat has been awarded $710,001 by a Californian federal court after its image was overused.
The cat, called Tardar Sauce, shot to internet fame in 2012 when an image of its now iconic scowl heavy face, actually caused by an underbite and feline dwarfism, was posted online and spawned countless memes.
The image quickly caught the imagination of marketers, leading to Grumpy Cat earning millions in endorsement and advertising deals.
Once such deal involved American coffee company Grenade Beverage, which struck a $150,00 deal with Grumpy Cat Limited, the firm setup to effectively manage Grumpy Cat’s money-making, to use the cat’s face on its ‘Grumppuccino’ iced drink bottles.
But Grumpy Cat Limited ended up suing Grenade due to it overusing the image by putting it on other products. Grenade then counter-sued arguing that Grumpy Cat Limited didn’t fulfil its side of the deal by promoting Grenade on social media.
However, at the end of an week-long trial, a jury of eight judges came down on the side of Grumpy Cat Limited, Court House News reported. This resulted in the cat management company being awarded some £500,000 worth of damages for damages for copyright and trademark infringement as well as a token fee of $1 for damage relating to a breach of contract.
Grumpy Cat itself, who made an appearance at the trial, is reportedly happy with the result, while somewhat ironically it looks like Grenade will be left grumpy with the jury’s decision.
The whole case might seem a bit overblown for the use of a cat’s face that has proliferated all over the internet. But it does show how powerful and iconic a simple image of a cat can become if the internet get behind it.
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