Honey Badger Mauls Bed Bath & Beyond with a Lawsuit over Unauthorized Merchandise

Apparently, the honey badger does care if you use his trademark without permission. The man behind the successful “Honey Badger” video hit Bed Bath & Beyond with a lawsuit over its use of a phrase from the video without permission.

The allegedly infringing tumblers.

Christopher Gordon is the comedic narrator behind the “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger” YouTube video that launched in 2011 and since then has over 75 million views. The video shows the honey badger eating cobras, about anything else that moves and generally not giving a darn about life. In association with the video, Gordon registered the copyright for the narration and registered the trademark HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE. Gordon licenses and produces merchandise bearing this mark and other phrases from the video.
Defendant Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as two other manufacturers, were sued for their creation and distribution of pillow cases and tumblers bearing a picture of a honey badger and the phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Care”. The product has since been removed from the defendants’ online stores and no longer appears to be for sale. Gordon alleges acts of trademark infringement and demands damages, attorneys’ fees and an injunction forbidding the further sale of the merchandise bearing Gordon’s trademark.
Gordon has limited trademark registrations on the phrase and not in a class that covers the pillows and tumblers in question. If Gordon did have registration in these classes, he could assert that the marks are counterfeit and request statutory damages of up to $2 million for each mark counterfeited. This is a good incentive for all to register their marks.
The honey badger is just an animal and in the public domain so anyone can print a shirt on it that says “honey badger.” But when the defendants use the exact same trademark on their product, that’s what leads to problems. Gordon will need to show that he uses the mark as a trademark to identify his products and brand and that his use of the phrase is just not ornamental on products. I am sure the parties can reach a swift settlement if they all play nice…unlike that pesky honey badger.