CALIFORNIA (CelebrityAccess) – Fashion designer Marc Jacobs has asked a judge to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Nirvana back in December 2018.
In the suit, attorneys for Nirvana L.L.C. alleged that Marc Jacobs used the band’s imagery, particularly its iconic “Happy Face” logo, without authorization for the brand’s “Redux Grunge Collection.” The lawsuit also claimed that the sale of the smiley face-featuring Marc Jacobs products constitutes copyright infringement, false designation of origin, trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Now, documents filed Friday (March 8) in a California federal court reveal the designer’s lawyers are arguing Nirvana is not the legitimate owner of the “Happy Face” logo copyright registration, that the registration is invalid, and that there are pronounced differences between the material covered by Nirvana’s registration and the artwork used by Marc Jacobs. The case also argues that while the copyright for the “X-Eye Smiley Face” was registered to Cobain in 1991, it is unclear when or how the registration was transferred to Nirvana, Inc. as both the author of the work and the copyright claimant.
In their motion for dismissal, lawyers for Marc Jacobs made a point of noting that “the release of the Redux Grunge Collection was met with much fanfare in the fashion press, and fashion insiders rushed to buy the coveted looks that had not been available for 25 years.”
They went on to say: “As friends of the brand, Ms. [Courtney] Love and Ms. [Frances Bean] Cobain helped celebrate the release of the collection. Each woman was gifted designs from the collection. Ms. Love was invited to perform at the launch event for the collection in Los Angeles. Both Ms. Love and Ms. Cobain “liked” and commented on the images of the collection that Mr. Jacobs posted on his Instagram feed, including, notably, images of Mr. Jacobs in the t-shirt that is one of the Accused Products. Ms. Love commented on one of the images of Mr. Jacobs in that shirt, saying, “Nice photo! Looks some [sic] what familiar! Amazing!”
In addition to Marc Jacobs, Nirvana, L.L.C.’s lawsuit named Saks Incorporated and Neiman Marcus Group Limited, L.L.C. as defendants for selling the allegedly infringing items. The suit asks for monetary damages, the stop of sale of any of the allegedly infringing items, as well as the removal of any Nirvana references from Jacobs’ promotional materials.