Nyan Cat & Keyboard Cat Creators Sue Warner Bros. & 5th Cell
The creators of the popular Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat Internet memes are suing Scribblenauts series publisher Warner Bros. and developer 5th Cell for including the famous felines. The two cats first appeared in the original DS Scribblenauts in 2009, and have been featured in each game up to and including the most recent Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Meme creators are rarely mentioned when these images and videos go viral, but both of the humorous cats have trademarks filed for them. Charles Schmidt is the creator of the Keyboard Cat video, and Christopher Orlando Torres made the animated Nyan Cat gif. However, neither filed trademarks until 2010, the year after Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat were first included in 2009’s Scribblenauts.
"For the past three years, WB, along with game developer 5th, have knowingly and intentionally infringed plaintiffs' copyrights and trademarks by using Nyan Cat and Fatso's image in WB's top selling Scribblenauts games," says the court document.
Schmidt and Torres haven't specified an amount of damages they are seeking, choosing to leave it up to the courts upon presentation of the proof. However, their filing requests punitive damages and treble damages, which would effectively triple the normal court award in a case like this.
They are also seeking injunctive relief, which could have a material impact on WB and 5th Cell continuing to sell copies of the games containing these two trademarks.
While it lacks specifics on dollar amounts, the document does list all nine claims filed by Schmidt and Torres:
- Copyright Infringement filed by Schmidt and Torres individually against all defendants
- Trademark infringement filed by Schmidt and Torres individually against all defendants
- False advertising filed by Schmidt and Torres individually against all defendants
- Unfair competition filed by Schmidt and Torres individually against all defendants
- The ninth claim reasserts the other statements and affirms the plaintiffs rights to seek damages and restitution
[Source: IPtrademarkattorney, thanks to Robert for the news tip]