Classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as "Least Concerned," who would think that the Honey Badger of all animals could garner a following on YouTube of over 86 million? Since 2011 when the video ‘The Crazy Nastya** Honey Badger” video was first uploaded, the terms "Honey Badger Don't Care!" and "Honey Badger Don't Give A Sh*t" became part of our lexicon and one of the top memes of all time on social networks.
The Urban Dictionary equates Honey Badger to "The Chuck Norris of the Animal Kingdom" and defines it as "no bigger or faster animal ever gives the honey badger crap. If they did, that animal wouldn't have the chance to regret it." In fact, when the "Tasmania devil goes to sleep, he check under his bed for the honey badger."
Who's trading on his reputation . . .
Flash forward 2018, after video creator Christopher Gordon, aka "Randall" cashed in on millions in Honey Badger memorabilia and swag items such as t-shirts, mugs, calendars . . . you name it . . . Honey Badger became embroiled in a trademark battle.
As the U.S. district court ruling noted, Gordon had trademarked the phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Care” and entered into licensing agreements with the Duck Company and Zazzle, which currently sells more than 9,000 honey badger products.
Then Papyrus-Recycled Greetings, a division of American Greetings, started selling several honey badger greeting cards, including one that said: "Honey Badger and me just don't care. Happy Birthday."
Gordon immediately filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. However the court granted summary judgement to the greeting card company, saying the cards were expressive works protected by the First Amendment. An enraged Gordon appealed.
On July 30, the appeals court reversed the lower court's decision, allowing his lawsuit to continue.
The opinion stated that Gordon's lawsuit against Papyrus-Recycled Greetings presents a question that should be tried before a jury: Did the greeting cards add any artistic value, which would be protected by the First Amendment, or did they simply appropriate the goodwill associated with Gordon’s original trademark?
"A trademark owner can stop others from using its trademark in order to prevent the public from being confused about the source of the goods or services,” explains the International Trademark Association.
Meme Creators take heed . . .
"It appears that meme creators have only a small window of time to monetize their viral fame before the Internet moves on to something new," Gordon's lawyer argued in the case with the appeals court.
“My client is a creative genius,” he said. “He had a bolt of lightning, 86 million views on YouTube, was basically a celebrity around the country for about three years, and he had a brief window of time to strike while the iron was hot on that. He should be the one — not the defendants in this case — to capitalize on that.”
Are you a Honey Badger fan?
If so, do you really think the 'least concerned' animal in the animal kingdom cares two bits bout his trademark -- or in honey badger terms: "two sh*ts?"
Or do you think the real moral to this story is for us humans to stay clear of this angry hombré. And that being "forewarned is being forearmed" should be our mode of operandi. If honey badgers can bite the head off a venomous snake, this is one mean critter you don't want to be messing with. Agreed? Least concern animal indeed?!?
Primary Source: Washington Post