Trademark News & Screw-ups Smells Like Trademark Infringement: Nirvana Sues Over Smiley Face Logo

What is fascinating is not that Marc Jacobs chose to "borrow" Nirvana's logo for his apparel line. It's not even that the LLC behind what used to be Nirvana sued Marc Jacobs for "borrowing" their famous logo without their permission. What's fascinating is that since 1992 when the logo was first licensed by the band from Kurt Cobain, nobody in the band's management thought it might be a good idea to trademark the design. Yes, there is a copyright registration that will probably be sufficient to nail Marc Jacobs in this case. But seriously! On the other hand, not entirely surprising from a band that allowed someone else to trademark the name NIRVANA back in 1990, didn't do anything when that trademark was canceled in 1997, and waited until 2010, 16 years after Kurt shot himself, to finally apply to trademark the band name. Whoever is supposed to be handling the LLC's business is not doing a great job at it.

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