The creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat have not taken kindly to the inclusion of their popular memes in the Scribblenauts games. The two are suing developer 5th Cell and publisher Warner Bros for copyright and trademark infringement.
Keyboard Cat creator Charles Schmidt and Nyan Cat creator Christopher Torres both have filed suit alleging that both 5th Cell and Warner Bros. used the likenesses without permission in Scribblenauts (2009), Super Scribblenauts (2010), Scribblenauts Remix (2011) and Scribblenauts Unlimited (2012). "Compounding their infringements, defendants have used 'Nyan Cat' and 'Keyboard Cat,' even identifying them by name, to promote and market their games, all without plaintiffs' permission and without any compensation to plaintiffs," the suit said. The plaintiffs are asking for unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.
Trademark attorney Milord Keshishian blogged that, while there are portions of the case that have merit, the fact that the likenesses were first used before copyrights were registered in 2010 should keep the duo from getting statutory damages or attorneys fees. Also, the delay in registering for the trademarks--five years from when the respective videos went viral on the Internet--could be an issue in the case.