Nirvana is suing Marc Jacobs, an international fashion brand, for an alleged breach of copyright over the use of the smiley face logo of the band on some of its products.
The representatives of the grunge band of the late Kurt Cobain claim that the fashion company has “infringed Nirvana’s copyright, misleadingly used Nirvana’s common law trademarks, and utilised other elements with which Nirvana is associated” through the firm’s Bootleg Redux Grunge collection, without the consent of Nirvana.
The collection features some t-shirts that have the iconic smiley face logo with the eyes replaced by the letters M and J.
Marc Jacobs has been contacted for comment regarding the matter.
Nirvana said that the conduct of Marc Jacobs was considered to be “intentional, willful, wanton, malicious and oppressive.” It also said that the band had encountered “irreparable injuries” to its rights and the loss of value to its trademark.
It said that it was pursuing the designer for damages that will be determined at a trial.
Some luxury department stores in the United States such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are also included in the claim for selling the items of clothing that are in question in their stores. Nirvana has requested that the stores remove the items from sale and pay the band damages.
Marc Jacobs is also accused by the band of using its song lyrics to promote its collection. In an example, a tagline on one of its products says something like it “sure smells like teen spirit,” a reference to one of the most popular songs of Nirvana, while Marc Jacobs personally wears a t-shirt that has the promotional tag line of a Nirvana song entitled ” Come As You Are.”
The legal action is the only the most recent issue to affect the esteemed fashion designer. In 2017, Jacobs was accused by three independent artists who claimed that the designer copied some of their pieces of work.