Grumpy Cat Limited won a $710,000 award for copyright and trademark infringement by Grenade Beverage. The amount was decided by a jury verdict in the Central District of California court on Jan. 23. In 2013, Grenade Beverage was given a license to use the image of Grumpy Cat to market an iced coffee called Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino. Grenade would form Grumpy Beverage as a subsidiary for the purposes of selling this beverage.
However, in 2015, Grumpy Cat Limited learned that Grumpy Beverage intended to use the image to market a ground coffee product. Despite knowing that it didn’t have permission to do so, the beverage company began marketing the ground coffee product with Grumpy Cat’s image. This was in violation of the trademark and copyright held by Grumpy Cat Limited. The complaint against Grenade also claims that the company failed to pay royalties on sales of the Grumppuccino and began selling Grumppuccino T-shirts.
The sale of the T-shirts was outside the scope of the licensing agreement, according to the complaint. In December 2017, Grumpy Cat Limited was given a summary judgement in the matter, and several counterclaims were dismissed. Of the $710,000 in statutory damages awarded to the owner of the Grumpy Cat trademark, $480,000 was for trademark infringement. The other $230,000 was for copyright infringement.
If an intellectual property owner is the victim of trademark infringement, it may be necessary to defend that trademark. The same could be true if a person is the potential victim of copyright infringement as well. An attorney can review a case to determine if any infringement occurred. If it did, it might be possible for the victim to ask for compensation. It may also be possible to ask the infringing party to stop the infringing behavior immediately.