Reddit Sensation Grumpy Cat Readies for Trademark Battles

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You want to make Reddit sensation Grumpy Cat really grumpy? Try using her name on a product without prior authorization.

The owners of the cat that took social media by storm five months ago have filed for a trademark for the name “Grumpy Cat” as well as the cat’s likeness. After all, their little kitty, whose name is actually Tardar Sauce, has since gotten her own website, Facebook fan page, retail space, an appearance on the Today Show and her own commercial for Friskies cat food, according to SmallBizTrends.com.[more]

Tardar Sauce’s unhappy expression led to plenty of creative souls in the cybersphere to take her image and put her alongside text, such as “I had fun once. It was terrible.” Her incredible shareability could not have been predicted. 

As it turned out, Grumpy Cat wasn’t just a hit on the Internet. People wanted to meet Tardar face to face, too. At this year’s South by Southwest interactive festival, Tardar was holed up at Mashable’s base camp for photo-ops and even produced a live YouTube Series for Friskies. “People have stood for hours, in lines snaking around the block, to get their picture taken with her,” CNN reports. When they got up there and stuck their faces next to her, most folks didn’t smile, CNN notes; instead, they tried to look grumpy.

The sister and brother who own Tardar, Tabitha and Bryan Bundesen, had attorney Kia Kamran file their trademark application in January.

“Kamran, who also represents Mike Tyson, says he hasn’t filed any Grumpy Cat lawsuits yet, but probably will soon in response to the ‘current wave of infringers that are popping up,'” PaidContent.org reports. “He adds that, while he’s sensitive to the cultural dimensions of internet memes, he’s had to take action on behalf of other clients, Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat.”

Of course, they’re being chased by the success of perhaps the biggest animal celeb on the planet these days: Boo, “the World’s Cutest Dog,” whose endorsement deals include being named “official pet liaison” for Virgin America.

He’s also got a leg up on his feline competition by being a charitable fellow: he’s helped raise funds for Operation Smile and also the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital — a worthy cause in his reported hometown of Palo Alto, California (don’t miss a video of his visit with brother Buddy) that he’s been supporting in the lead-up to his 7th birthday on March 16th.

Can’t say Boo to that.

Boo photo above via Facebook; Grumpy Cat, at top, via Grumpy Cats.

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