Remember that viral video from 2011 where a honey badger trots around,
aggressively not caring
about things? Well, the guy who made it—Christopher Gordon, who goes by the pseudonym "Randall"—is
Papyrus and design company Drape Creative over some greeting cards that use the phrase HONEY BADGER DON'T GIVE A SHIT.
The allegedly infringing greeting cards—apparently manufactured under Papyrus's "Recycled Greetings" brand—are invariably formulaic and deeply, deeply unfunny.
"It's Your Birthday!" a honey badger appears to say. Within, the heartbreaking revelation that Honey Badger don't give a shit.
Here's the thing: when Randall's video blew up all those years ago, he went ahead and did register some trademarks, which he used to sell shirts, mugs, toys, and game apps. But he only registered HONEY BADGER DON'T CARE, not HONEY BADGER DON'T GIVE A SHIT, which now makes his case a bit weaker.
By the way, did you know there was a talking Honey Badger plush toy, and that it came in R-rated and PG-rated versions? I didn't.
The defendants in the case—Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and Drape Creative, Inc.—have already responded with a motion to dismiss, claiming that Randall doesn't have legitimate trademark rights in either "Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit" or "Honey Badger Don't Care," and that even if he did, there is no trademark infringement, since "honey badger don't give a shit" is being used as a phrase, not a brand or a logo that indicates the source or creator of the greeting card. On top of that, the defendant's (awful, schlocky) greeting cards are protected under the First Amendment.
This. This is protected under the First Amendment.
These are decent arguments, but my favorite one is the incredibly precise quibble over how many times "Honey Badger Don't Give A Shit" appears in the original video (exactly one time).
So why is this lawsuit even happening?
Well, one possibility is that some Twitter rando alerted Randall to the birthday card, and it got him so hopping mad that he launched this entire litigation.
Yes, a screencapped tweet of two people holding a terrible greeting card is part of this lawsuit! However, the timing of the lawsuit and the date the tweet was posted don't match up—so it couldn't have been the tweet that started it all.
In fact, it's probably just that Randall (who sues under his documented name, Christopher Gordon) is really into suing people.
This is what you do now, I guess. Make one joke that resonates with the internet, trademark it, and then find a lawyer. Money Badger don't give a shit?