Nirvana and Marc Jacobs settle lawsuit over smiley face logo

Nirvana and fashion brand Marc Jacobs have settled a copyright dispute over the band’s infamous smiley face logo.

In 2018, Nirvana sued Marc Jacobs International after the company debuted a “Redux Grunge” collection, which included a shirt resembling Nirvana’s smiley face logo. Where the Nirvana smiley face had X’s for eyes, the shirt in question had the letters M and J for eyes – with the word “Heaven” above them – in a similar font to Nirvana’s.

At the time, Nirvana’s lawyers argued that Marc Jacobs use of the image was “intentional”, and done in an attempt 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 with the collection more authentic.”

Kurt Cobain was said to have thought up the smiley face logo, although both Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic had previously testified that they did not know who made the smiley face – which Marc Jacobs lawyers noted in a countersuit.

Stella Maxwell pictured at the Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge party, 2018. CREDIT:

In the 2019 claim, the designers stated: “The apparent absence of any living person with first-hand knowledge of the creation of the allegedly copyrighted work in question, coupled with numerous other deficiencies in the 166 Registration that is the basis for Nirvana’s infringement claim are the basis for the counterclaim asserted.”

That point was complicated when former Geffen Records art director Robert Fisher claimed it was him who came up with the logo. He filed a motion in 2020, claiming he was the rightful creator and owner of the design, and described himself as “Nirvana’s go-to person for most of its graphic design needs”.

His lawyers wrote (via Billboard): “For 30 years now, Nirvana has reaped enormous profits from Mr. Fisher’s works through the sale of a wide range of products. Assisted by a team of lawyers and managers, Nirvana was able to do so without any compensation to Mr. Fisher by falsely claiming authorship and ownership.”

In a joint court filing on July 9, all three parties confirmed they’d agreed on a settlement. Little detail was given, but all involved have agreed to a “Mediators Proposal” submitted by magistrate judge, Steve Kim. It will be completed over the next three weeks.

Per Rolling Stone, the parties are now in the process of drafting a proper settlement agreement, and as yet, lawyers for Marc Jacobs, Nirvana, and Robert Fisher have not immediately responded to requests for comment.

NME has also reached out for comment.

The post Nirvana and Marc Jacobs settle lawsuit over smiley face logo appeared first on NME.

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