Nirvana’s smiley face lawsuit against Marc Jacobs will continue

A judge has denied a motion to dismiss the band’s claims against the Bootleg Redux Grunge line.

November 14, 2019
Nirvana’s smiley face lawsuit against Marc Jacobs will continue MLADEN ANTONOV / Getty

Nirvana’s lawsuit against Marc Jacobs will proceed, a California judge has ruled, according to Hollywood Reporter. The copyright infringement lawsuit concerns Marc Jacobs’ “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing line, which bears a striking similarity to Nirvana’s famous smiley face logo. In similar coloration and font, the Jacobs shirts replace the word Nirvana with smiley face’s X eyes with “M” and “J.” The band’s December 2018 filing accused Marc Jacobs of “mislead[ing] the public into falsely believing that Nirvana endorses the entire ‘Bootleg Redux Grunge’ collection… when Nirvana has not done so,” according to Rolling Stone.

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The fashion label had reportedly asked for the suit to be dismissed for a variety of technical reasons, including that they had sufficiently altered the logo to avoid a violation. However, denying the motion to dismiss, the judge wrote: “the issue presented as to likelihood of confusion is not whether the marks are identical. It is whether they are sufficiently similar ‘in their entirety’ to make confusion likely.”

Nirvana’s smiley face lawsuit against Marc Jacobs will continue