Legendary '90s grunge band Nirvana is suing Marc Jacobs International for allegedly infringing on the band's copyright for its smiley face logo. The band filed a complaint in a California court on December 28, 2018.
Whether you're a fan of the band or the brand, we're pretty sure you've seen Nirvana's ubiquitous smiley face logo.
Despite frontman Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, the band remains popular to this day. Stores like Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, and even Target sell merch adorned with the memorable logo.
Sure, it's pretty much just a quirky, poorly drawn smiley face, but according to the lawsuit, Cobain created the logo in 1991, and "Nirvana has used that copyright-protected design and logo continuously since 1992 to identify its music." The band also claims that because the logo has become synonymous with the band's music, "a significant portion of the consuming public assumes that all goods or services that bear the logo are endorsed by or associated with Nirvana."
The logo on Marc Jacobs' $115 T-shirts and $200 crewnecks, among other pieces, is virtually identical to Nirvana's. Instead of X's as eyes, it features an "M" and "J" in a scribbled font, and instead of "Nirvana," it says "Heaven," also in a similar font.
As this drama enfolds, let us reminisce about simpler times.