Nirvana's legal team says a former designer for their label has no claim on the smiley face logo that's the subject of a lawsuit they have against designer Marc Jacobs.
In a filing Monday, lawyers for Nirvana contend that Robert Fisher, a former art director at Geffen/UMG Records, had no part in creating the logo and that the drawing of a happy face with crooked grin and X's for eyes was created by late Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain in 1991 and registered for copyright two years later.
Fisher filed intervening papers in the Jacobs lawsuit in 2020 stating he created the design as a favor to Nirvana's management and owns a copyright interest under an "implied license" he granted to the band. He also alleged that he terminated the implied license in 2021 and that any further use of the logo infringes his copyright.
Nirvana's camp denies it ever had any sort of license from Fisher and says that even if the art director had played a role in the creation of the design, the work took place within the course of his employment at Geffen, so "any copyright interest in any such work would have been owned" by the label.
The original 2018 suit, which has yet to go to trial, saw Nirvana sue Marc Jacobs for allegedly copying the happy face on clothing in a collection called Bootleg Redux Grunge. (City News Service)