Article: Grumpy Cat, her impostors and the whack-a-mole of trademark claims

Courthouse News

CHICAGO (CN) — Grumpy Cat Limited is back in court this month with more trademark suits. The company, which owns the image and likeness of the early 2010s internet sensation “Grumpy Cat,” in April filed at least four separate lawsuits in federal court, accusing a group of online retailers of violating its trademarks to the eternally scowling cat’s face.

In virtually identical complaints, the company said the retailers ran numerous online shops selling counterfeit Grumpy Cat merchandise — including everything from T-shirts and hats to coffee cups and wall posters. These retailers are primarily based out of China, the company said, though they do business throughout the United States.

Lawsuits like these are nothing new for Grumpy Cat. Since 2019, the company has filed more than 50 trademark lawsuits — and that’s just in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois. Many of those have concluded in the company’s favor, with the court ordering the offending retailers (often small-time individual operators) to stop sales.

For Grumpy Cat Limited, it’s a constant game of whack-a-mole. Whenever the company smacks down bootleggers in court, a new batch inevitably pops up with more supposed Grumpy Cat products.