Nirvana’s copyright lawsuit against fashion designer Marc Jacobs has seen an interesting new development with a California-based graphic designer claiming he actually created Nirvana’s smiley face logo at the center of the legal battle.
According Billboard“Robert Fisher, a freelance graphic designer based in Woodland Hills, filed a petition on September 13 to intervene in the pending federal litigation in the Central District of California in the United States, claiming to be the creator and rightful owner of the design protected by copyright.”
Cobain has been credited with creating the logo, but Fisher refutes this in detail. In the petition filed by Fisher, he stated that he worked at Geffen Records before signing Nirvana. He was a fan of the band and asked if he could work with the band on their upcoming new album design, Not serious. He said he not only worked with the band to create the iconic album cover for Not serious, but he was “…Nirvana’s go-to person for almost all of its graphic design needs”. Fisher also claims to have had a working relationship with the band after the band disbanded following Cobain’s untimely death and after leaving Geffen Records.
Fisher details the different techniques he used to create the logo, which he says came about after he was asked “…to make products more suitable for retail.”
Inge De Bruyn, attorney for Fisher, said Billboard in a statement, “The rule of copyright is that the individual creator of a work should be considered its original author and owner. That’s really the basic premise… And the situation is such that if Robert doesn’t assert his rights now, he risks losing them forever.
Nirvana LLC originally filed a lawsuit against Jacobs in December 2018. The lawsuit itself stems from Jacobs’ alleged unauthorized use of Nirvana’s happy face logo in his “Redux Grunge Collection.”
In November 2019, Billboard announced that the trial would move forward in accordance with a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt. Shortly thereafter, Jacobs and fellow defendants Saks Incorporated and Neiman Marcus attempted to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Jacobs Lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed of the court because the copyrighted Nirvana logo, “…includes the word “Nirvana”. The accused products do not. The [copyrighted logo] includes Flower Sniffin writing. The accused products do not. The [copyrighted logo] includes a smiley face with Xs for eyes. The Accused Products do not; they use a different letter for each eye, the letters M and J, meaning Marc Jacobs.
Photos of the Nirvana happy face logo and the Jacobs version can be seen below.
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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who knows the label well and is extraordinarily nice.