In America everything is for sale. And therefore you might conclude that anything can be sold. Even a grumpy cat can be a popular item, and it is: Grumpy Cat, a cat that always looks grumpy, is a huge hit on the internet. On NBC there was an interview (with the owner probably) and there is merchandising.
The owner of Grumpy Cat has planned things carefully: he has founded Grumpy Cat Corp. Incorporated. This company has filed the trademarks in the US: the wordmark Grumpy Cat, for various products, and even the image of Grumpy Cat. With the description: “The cat has white fur above its nose and surrounding its mouth. Its nose and mouth are outlined in pink and black. The cat’s mouth in a frown.”
A picture of a Grumpy Cat, that would be a nice subject of infringement cases, wouldn’t it? We imagine asserting that when comparing the two grumpy cats in question the one is slightly more cranky than the other which results in a different overall impression. Well, till that day, everybody can buy all kind of merchandising such as refrigerator magnets, beer mugs and clothing.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”