photo by Christian Petersen via getty images

Grumpy Cat and her owner will receive $710,000 in damages

Mike Pomranz
January 25, 2018

In 2012, Grumpy Cat went from household pet to household name, taking the internet by storm with her naturally frowning features. From there, her caretakers went on to launch a lucrative business around the now 5-year-old kitty, including television appearances, a Lifetime movie, sponsorship deals, and lots of merchandise. (Her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, was even reportedly able to quit her job waitressing at Red Lobster.) But when you go from fleabag to fame, everyone wants a piece of you, and Grumpy Cat ended up at the center of a lawsuit. However, here’s some news that might not make him grumpy: The cat won to the tune of $710,000.

Anyway, back in 2013, Grumpy Cat Limited made a deal with the Grenade beverage company to produce Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino coffee drinks. However, by 2015, the deal had apparently gone sour after Grenade began branching out into other Grumpy Cat products like Grumpy Cat Roasted Coffee and Grumppuccino merchandise, neither of which was allegedly part of the original deal.

According to the Washington Post, Grenade countersued, arguing that Grumpy Cat wasn’t holding up her end of the bargain by promoting the iced coffee line. Grenade’s attorney reportedly pointed to a Fox and Friends appearance where the cat’s handlers failed to say the supposedly agreed upon line, “Watch out, Starbucks. The cat's coming for it.” In an especially low blow, the countersuit also apparently pointed out that Grumpy Cat claimed to be slated to appear in a Hollywood blockbuster movie with the likes of Will Ferrell but only ended up with the made-for-TV Lifetime flick Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas. Ouch!

Regardless, after a weeklong trial that even featured an appearance from Grumpy Cat himself, the California jury determined that the drink brand had unlawfully used the cat’s likeness and awarded Grumpy Cat a cool $710,000 in damages. That’ll buy a lot of catnip, but be careful: You don’t want to get hooked on the stuff.

"Grumpy Cat feels vindicated and feels the jury reached a just verdict," David Jonelis, the attorney for Grumpy Cat Limited, said according to Courthouse News. Objection! Saying that you understand the feelings of a cat is speculative at best!

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