deadmau5 Files Trademark Petition to Protect Cat Meowingtons’ Brand
Joel Zimmerman is no stranger to protecting his iconic deadmau5 image through legal action, but now he’s in new territory: protecting his cat’s brand.
Shortly after Zimmerman adopted his black and white cat in 2010, Meowingtons became an Internet sensation; now he is the only animal to boast its own verified Twitter handle.
“As a result of deadmau5’s fame, his cat — whom he named and is commonly referred to as ‘Prof. Meowingtons,’ ‘Prof. Meowingtons, PhD,’ and ‘Meowingtons’ — has become widely recognized in his own right and gained substantial fans and followers on social media,” writes attorney Irene Lee. Like his stage name deadmau5, the cat’s moniker came from a literal place: the cat’s incessant meowing. It was meowing tons.
Meowingtons has been featured on deadmau5′ album art, merchandise and marketing materials — and even inspired an eponymous tour, the Meowingtons Hax Tour. In 2012, Zimmerman launched limited-edition Meowingtons headphones, the first ever designed specifically for cats.
But despite Meowintgons’ overnight celebrity status, Zimmerman didn’t attempt to trademark the cat’s name until 2015. He filed an application for a Prof. Meowingtons mark and it was rejected. That’s when he says he discovered the name had been hijacked.
Now, he’s petitioning the United States Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a Florida woman’s Meowingtons trademark. According to the complaint, Emma Bassiri created meowingtons.com to sell cat-themed apparel and gifts and Zimmerman believes she chose the name because she is a longtime deadmau5 fan.
Zimmerman will rely on the concept of first use to regain the trademark, arguing that he has been using the Meowingtons mark since at least 2011 and the online store didn’t launch until 2014.
The website’s use of Meowingtons is already causing confusion, which is apparent through the cat’s social media channels, Zimmerman claims.
Bassiri has not yet commented on the petition, which you can read in full here.