This is one of the dumbest trademark violation lawsuits I’ve ever seen. ExxonMobile — the provider of gasoline, perhaps best known for spilling 11 million gallons of oil in the Prince William Sound — is suing FX’s new comedy network, FXX, for copyright violation. Why? Because as you can see from the logos up there, there’s some very slight similarities between the XXs in the logos. Exxon has filed suit, asking for an injunction to prevent FXX from continued use of the logo, and is asking for triple damages for the harm caused.
Look: I don’t remember that much from my law school intellectual property classes, but I do remember the two most important elements for a trademark violation: Legitimate confusion, and financial loss as a result of that confusion. I SERIOUSLY doubt that interlocking Xs is going to create any confusion between a gas station and a comedy network — they’re not even in the same industry — so what kind of damages could the lack of confusion even cause? Exxon wants triple damages? Three times $0 is nada. That’s pretty much what Exxon deserves. I mean, for God’s Sake: Exxon is basing part of its claim on a website comment over on TV.com: “That FXX logo has to go, that is awful on a plate. Also, Exxon is going to be pissed.”
FXX disagrees, releasing a statement in response to the lawsuit, in which they get a little cheeky.
“It is unfathomable that a consumer would confuse Exxon’s logo, from the world’s largest oil and gas company with FXX, the new networks that brings viewers such award-winning original television as ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and ‘The League,’ to name a few. We are confident that viewers won’t tune into FXX looking for gas or motor oil and drivers won’t pull up to an Exxon pump station expecting to get ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’”
But seriously, that would be the BEST gas station ever!