Nirvana counter-sued by Marc Jacobs over smiley face logo.
Marc Jacobs is counter-suing Nirvana after the influential grunge band successfully lodged a lawsuit against the fashion designer for infringing on their iconic smiley face logo. A year ago, the fashion house unveiled the Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge Collection, which contained a T-shirt that the group led by the late Kurt Cobain argued blatantly and illegally appropriated the design from a similar Nirvana-branded garment.
But Jacobs doubts that Cobain and his band created the smiley face logo in the first place. Jacobs is seeking a declaration that the group's copyright registration for the logo is invalid and unenforceable. Earlier this year, the fashion designer attempted to dismiss the band's initial lawsuit after Nirvana claimed the logo Jacobs used was a "blatant ripoff" of their design. However, a federal court in California allowed the suit to proceed when a judge ruled the group's complaint sufficiently alleged that Nirvana owned the logo's copyright and that the design was similar enough to the T-shirt to survive the motion to dismiss.
Seemingly the next step for the case will be determining which side has the burden of proof for the logo. But, for now, it appears that Nirvana's copyright registration has the presumption of validity. Interestingly enough, Cobain's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was employed as a spokes-model for Marc Jacobs in 2017.