Classic Rock News

Artist claims ownership of Nirvana smiley-face logo in ongoing Marc Jacobs lawsuit

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A third party has joined the ongoing legal battle between Nirvana and Marc Jacobs.

You may recall that, way back in December 2018, Nirvana LLC — an entity consisting of former band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, plus Kurt Cobain‘s widow Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean Cobain — sued fashion designer Jacobs over his company’s Bootleg Redux Grunge collection, which the band felt copied their signature smiley-face logo.

Following various files to dismiss and countersuits, the Los Angeles Times reports that artist Robert Fisher has entered the fray, claiming he was the one who originally created the logo.

Fisher, a former art director at Geffen Records, filed a motion seeking to be credited as the creator and copyright owner of the logo. Lawyers for Nirvana LLC have stated that Kurt Cobain is the design’s author, but Fisher maintains he created it in 1991 as a “favor” to the band’s management.

“Since I drew it, I want to be known as the guy that drew it. It’s as simple as that,” Fisher tells the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t think it’s fair that they try and take out a copyright and say Kurt did it.”

Indeed, the exact story of the logo’s creation has been blurry throughout the case — in depositions, both Grohl and Novoselic testified that they didn’t know who first came up with it before Nirvana LLC “filed a declaration that all parties within the band’s company agree that it was created by Cobain,” the Times reports.

A lawyer for Nirvana LLC tells the newspaper that Fisher’s claims are “factually and legally baseless.”

A ruling on Fisher’s motion is set to come in the next few months. Nirvana LLC’s suit against Jacobs is set to go to trial in 2021.

By Josh Johnson
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