Marc Jacobs denies stealing Nirvana’s iconic smiley face logo

The design is featured in Jacobs' 'Redux Grunge' collection

Marc Jacobs has denied that he stole the iconic Nirvana smiley face LOGO design for his ‘HEAVEN’ fashion collection.

Last December, the fashion designer was sued by lawyers representing the band who claimed that his company ripped off the design. You can see the Marc Jacobs design here.


A squiggly yellow smiley face illustration first appeared on a flyer for a release party for the ‘Nevermind’ album in 1991. The design was later trademarked by the band in 1992.

Jacobs has now filed a response demanding the lawsuit be dismissed, according to Pitchfork.


He claims that the smiley face design featured on a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and pair of socks in his Redux Grunge Collection, released in November, does not infringe on the band’s own iconic (and copyrighted) smiley logo.

Jacobs’ lawyers argue that Nirvana, L.L.C. is not the legitimate owner of the “Happy Face” logo copyright registration, that the registration is invalid, and that the fashion brand did not copy copyrightable aspects of the logo.

The filing also claims that the smiley logo featured on items in his collection bears a similar squiggly mouth and stuck-out tongue as the Nirvana smiley, but swaps in the letters M and J for eyes, and includes the word “Heavenly” in a serif font that slightly differs from the band’s logo, adding: “Marc Jacobs reinterpreted the design.” A table for comparison was also filed, which you can view above.


Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, previously fronted a campaign for Jacobs’ Spring collection in 2017.

She later defaced her own billboard, sharing videos and photos to Instagram of herself graffitiing over it with the words: “Witch, witch, she’s a witch”.

At the time, Bean stated that she doesn’t consider modelling as a viable full-time career option. “I don’t think I’ll be modelling for anybody else for a very long time – this is 100 percent outside my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone other than Marc,” she added.