Danielle Bregoli, 14, her mother Barbara Ann Bregoli and their company, Dani B Holdings LLC, filed a trademark lawsuit Thursday against companies and two individuals who worked to develop and published two mobile applications under Anonymous Games Inc. called “Cash Me Outside” and “How Bout Dat,” according to the complaint.
The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in South Florida, seeks at least $1 million in damages, asserting that the Bregolis are entitled to an award of all gross revenue received directly or indirectly from the game.
Barbara Ann Bregoli appeared on a “Dr. Phil” episode filmed live in September saying, “I want to give up my car-stealing, twerking 13-year-old daughter who tried to frame me for a crime.” Danielle, 13 at the time, said, “Cash me outside, how bow dah?” after the audience made remarks and gestures toward her. According to the complaint, the phrase means that if the audience wanted to continue mocking her, they could confront her outside and off-camera.
After the episode, her phrase became a cultural phenomenon and the girl and her mother retained business managers who helped them form Dani B Holdings to make money from selling her catchphrase on merchandise, public appearances, television appearances and marketing opportunities. She’s also appeared in music videos and has more than 10 million Instagram followers.
However, Dani B Holdings LLC didn’t file to trademark “Cash me outside, how bow dat?” until May 3, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s online records.
In addition to Anonymous Games Inc., the complaint accuses former owner Josiah Jenkins and current owner Matthew Gruettner, along with two other companies: Appnoxious LLC and Squad Social LLC. The complaint says “Cash Me Outside” is an “exceedingly simple and completely unoriginal game” which is free but collects revenue from advertisements and “in-app purchases.” The complaint also alleges that the app uses Danielle’s voice saying her catchphrase and uses an avatar resembling her.
As of Sunday, Anonymous Inc. had changed the name of the app to “Get Cash Outside” and no longer has the second app “How Bout Dat,” according to the Apple Inc. iTunes application store. The objective of the game is to make the character run and jump over obstacles to collect “bands of cash.” The app also took out her phrase and instead the character now says, “That’s lit.” The app had reached No. 1 downloaded game nationally on the iTunes store, the complaint said.
The complaint states that the Bregoli’s representatives contacted Jenkins and came to an oral agreement on Feb. 6 that the company would pay them $75,000 in total followed by a 50 percent revenue split on the game. But following the agreement, Jenkins “repeatedly made excuses for his delay” and stopped responding to phone calls. On Feb. 17, the second app “How Bout Dat” was published.
After the Bregoli’s representatives said they would seek legal actions against the company, Gruettner contacted them via email saying he was the actual developer of the “Cash Me Outside app” and Jenkins was his former business partner. Gruettner said he had ownership of the “code and assets” for the app and wanted to make an agreement with Danielle and her company. But he also stopped responding to all communications, the complaint said.
Gruettner told The Palm Beach Post on Sunday that he is the sole owner of Anonymous Games, and the other companies named in the complaint and Jenkins were never involved in making the game.
He said he expects the case will be dismissed immediately because his game was approved on Jan. 27, more than three months before Dani B Holdings LLC filed for the trademark. Gruettner said he hasn’t filed for a trademark for the game and usually makes games based on trending topics. He changed the name of his game in April after he learned the Bregolis filed for a trademark.
He said he never made a deal with the Bregolis and “the truth will come out in court as we intend to fight any accusations to the fullest extent.”
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