Grumpy Cat sues coffee maker over copyright

Luke Graham, special to

The internet's favorite cat has a new reason to be grumpy: the cat's company filed a lawsuit against a Californian coffee company for copyright and trademark infringement.

Grumpy Cat Limited, which owns the intellectual property rights to the famous Grumpy Cat (original name Tardar Sauce), is suing Grenade Beverage LLC on seven different complaints which could net the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"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," the lawsuit's first line reads.

Grumpy Cat
Photographer | Collection | Getty Images

Grumpy Cat Limited is seeking damages of up to $150,000 for each copyright infringement, damages for the infringement and dilution of its trademark, and another $100,000 for exploiting the domain name which is owned by Grenade Beverage.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the district of California on December 11, Grumpy Cat Limited and Grenade Beverage signed an agreement in 2013 allowing Grenade Beverage to sell a ready-to-drink coffee product called Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino.

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The company began to sell a range of roasted coffee beans in 2015 with Grumpy Cat branding, but Grumpy Cat Limited claims it refused permission for this line of products and included an email exchange in the lawsuit as evidence.

"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," the email reads.

The 'Grumpy cat' empire
The 'Grumpy cat' empire

Other complaints alleged by Grumpy Cat Limited include not being provided with detailed accounting as required by the original agreement and not receiving royalty payments.

Grenade Beverage disputed the claims. "There isn't a single fact stated in any of the causes of action contained in that complaint," Paul Sandford, co-founder of Grenade Beverage and listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, told news website Mashable.

Grumpy Cat became famous in 2012 after pictures of the cat posted to news site Reddit went viral.

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