Marc Jacobs countersues Nirvana in T-shirt copyright dispute

Jacobs lawyers argue that case against him has numerous deficiencies, in dispute over smiley face logo that appears in his designs

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs has filed a lawsuit against Nirvana, after he was sued by them for breaching copyright of their smiley face logo and signature font in a T-shirt design.

The original lawsuit was filed against Jacobs in January, accusing him of being oppressive, fraudulent and malicious in creating the designs, which, it was argued, threaten to dilute the value of Nirvanas licenses with its licensees for clothing products.

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Jacobs attempted to dismiss the suit in March. His lawyers argued that the smiley face was a commonplace image and that while the designs were inspired by Nirvanas 1990s concert T-shirts, his designs did not infringe copyright as they sufficiently deviated from Nirvanas.

Earlier this month, a California judge allowed the case to move forward. Jacobs has now responded with a countersuit, arguing that there are numerous deficiencies with the case.

Chief among these alleged deficiencies is that it is not clear who designed the bands logo. The original Nirvana lawsuit claimed it was designed by late frontman Kurt Cobain in about 1991 it first appeared on a flyer for a release party celebrating the album Nevermind, and would later adorn the bands T-shirts. But in depositions during the lawsuit, surviving bandmembers Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic admitted they didnt know who created it.

Jacobs suit demands that Nirvanas copyright claim to the logo be removed, and his companys legal costs be recovered. Nirvanas legal team will continue to contest the case they have complained that individuals who were more familiar with the copyright registration have not yet been questioned by Jacobs lawyers.

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