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Grumpy Cat wins $710,000 in US copyright case

The moody looking moggy was at the centre of a copyright infringement case in a US federal court that culminated with the jury ruling in favour of her owner Tabatha Bundse.

world Updated: Jan 25, 2018 16:48 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Los Angeles
File photo taken on July 15, 2014 shows Grumpy Cat attending the Cat Summer video launch party at Bleecker Street Records in New York City. Grumpy Cat, whose permanent scowl went viral on the Internet in 2012, has been awarded $710,000 in a copyright case against Grenade, a US coffee company, over usage of the cat's image. (AFP)

It won’t put a smile on her notoriously pouty face but Grumpy Cat, the feline who became an internet meme and a hugely lucrative brand, has just won $710,000 in court.

The famously moody looking moggy was at the centre of a copyright infringement case in a California federal court which culminated with the jury ruling in favour of her human pet Tabatha Bundse.

The dispute was sparked by a deal signed between Granade Beverage and Bundsen over the use of Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) in a line of iced coffee drinks.

The five-year-old web sensation featured in a range of Granade’s drinks, dubbed “Grumpiccionos”.

But Bundsen’s company Grumpy Cat Ltd argued that the drinks firm had gone beyond its contract by using the cat’s face on a host of unauthorised products, including ground coffee.

File photo from November 14, 2016, shows Grumpy Cat posing with her owner Tabatha Bundsen in New York. According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, Bundsen won a lawsuit first filed three years ago against the Grenade beverage company. She signed on for the cat to endorse a Grumpy Cat Grumpuccino, but the company subsequently used the cat’s image to help sell other products, which an eight-person jury on January 22, 2018, found was unauthorised. ( AP )

A court document obtained by AFP on Wednesday showed the jury sided with Bundsen, awarding her $710,001.

“We asked the jury what they thought was right and they came to the right conclusion,” Grumpy Cat’s lawyer David Jonelis told AFP, adding he believed it was the first time an internet meme had won a victory in court.

Grumpy Cat inadvertently went global in 2012 when Bundsen’s brother posted a picture on Reddit of the moggy sporting its now ubiquitous angry looking face - caused by a pronounced underbite.

She quickly went viral, spawning reams of “lolcat” memes.

Internet fame soon turned into hard cash as Grumpy Cat became a celebrity in her own right, making cameos in films and TV shows, appearing at Comicon and red carpet premieres and featuring in a host of lucrative merchandise deals.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 15:59 IST