Nirvana’s representatives are suing fashion designer’s Marc Jacobs for using their copyrighted smiley face logo in his latest collection as well as a marketing campaign.
Nirvana trademarked the symbol in 1992 and is suing the fashion brand for infringement of copyright. Designed by the band’s lead singer Kurt Cobain, the infamous illustration first appeared on a flyer for a party for Nirvana’s album Nevermind in 1991.
The Nirvana logo appears on a T-shirt, a sweater and socks which are all part of Jacobs’ reissued Bootleg Redux Grunge collection. This is the first time that the fashion label has adopted the famous emblem synonymous with the band.
The clothing items bear the band’s yellow smiley face logo but swapped the “X” eyes for Jacobs’ initials “M” and “J”. Instead of the word ‘Nirvana’ the collection uses the word “Heaven” written in an identical font as the original.
Nirvana Sues Marc Jacobs for Stealing Smiley Face Design https://t.co/leNnmNwZ3R
— TMZ (@TMZ) December 30, 2018
Marc Jacobs also references the band’s famous track Smells Like Teen Spirit in its online description for the T-shirt, “This bootleg smiley tee sure smells like teen spirit.”
According to TMZ, Nirvana’s representatives claimed that Jacobs was using the band’s hallmark image to make his collection seem more authentic and “grunge”. In a statement, the band’s representatives asserted that,
“The logo has come to symbolise the goodwill associated with Nirvana to a significant portion of the public, which assumes that all goods or services that bear the logo are endorsed by or associated with Nirvana. Use of Nirvana’s copyrighted image on and to promote its products is intentional, and is part of a wider campaign to associate the entire Bootleg Redux Grunge collection with Nirvana, one of the founders of the grunge musical genre, so as to make the grunge association more authentic.”
Nirvana is presently seeking an injunction and monetary damages.
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