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Nirvana Copyright Claims Against Marc Jacobs Advance (Corrected)

Nov. 13, 2019, 10:29 PMUpdated: Nov. 14, 2019, 7:28 PM

Nirvana LLC beat a bid to dismiss claims against Marc Jacobs International LLC alleging trademark infringement of the “Happy Face” logo after the Central District of California found sufficient allegations of substantial similarity between the design and the company’s products.

The complaint also alleges enough facts that Nirvana has a protectable interest in the design to proceed with the claims, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said. And the complaint sufficiently alleges a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the products, the court said.

Kurt Cobain created the design and logo in 1991 and registered it with the copyright office in 1993, according to the complaint. The registration lists the author and claimant of the copyright for a tee shirt design as Nirvana Inc.

In November 2018, Marc Jacobs announced the release of its “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing collection, which includes items of clothing that use a design and logo virtually identical to Nirvana’s copyrighted image, the complaint alleges.

Judge John A. Kronstadt issued the ruling.

Kendall Brill and Kelly LLP and Rimon PC represent Nirvana.

Kelley Drye and Warren LLP represents Marc Jacobs Intl.

The case is Nirvana LLC v. Mark Jacobs Int’l LLC, C.D. Cal., No. 18-cv-10743, docketed 11/12/19.

(Updated Nov. 13 story to reflect that Kelley Drye and Warren LLP is the only firm representing Marc Jacobs Intl. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Steven Patrick at