Warner Brothers, no stranger to intellectual property litigation, now finds itself on the defendant’s side of the table of a trademark lawsuit filed by… (wait for it…) the creators of the Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat memes.
Seriously…. I’m not kidding.
Actually, while the idea might seem odd on its face, it sounds like at least one of the two creators might have a case.
The infringement alleged in the case comes in the context of Scribblenauts, a game pubished by Warner’s gaming division, WB Games, and authored in conjunction with developer 5th Cell.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs (Charles L. Schmidt, creator of Keyboard Cat, and Christopher Torres, creator of Nyan Cat), note that the popularity of the memes “makes them extremely valuable for commercial uses,” adding that, unlike WB and 5th Cell, “many other companies, respecting plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights, regularly pay substantial license fees to use plaintiffs’ memes commercially.”
According to intellectual property attorney Milord Keshishian, Schmidt might have a tough time obtaining statutory damages, enhancement of damages and attorney fees, in light of the fact that the claimed infringement took place in 2009, but the copyright on Keyboard Cat was not registered until 2010.
Where’s a facepalm gif when I need one?