It all started in 2018 when fashion designer Marc Jacobs rolled out his Bootleg Redux Grunge collection. The collection featured a shirt that said Heaven alongside a smiley face with the letters M and J for eyes, which a large portion of music fans immediately recognized as eerily similar to that one Nirvana shirt everyone owns.

According to Loudwire, Nirvana sued Marc Jacobs that same year, saying that the similarities were too intentional and that it was an attempt to “associate the entire ‘Bootleg Redux Grunge’ collection with Nirvana, one of the founders of the ‘grunge’ musical genre, so as to make the ‘grunge’ association with the collection more authentic.” It was certainly a bad look for Jacobs considering the line had “Grunge” in the name and the whole design reeked of Nirvana – not exactly a sly ripoff.

Jacobs countersued in 2019 alleging that the creator of the logo was unknown, and that Nirvana couldn’t claim Kurt Cobain made it. A portion of Jacobs‘ response read: “…the apparent absence of any living person with first-hand knowledge of the creation of the allegedly copyrighted work in question, coupled with numerous other deficiencies in the 166 Registration that is the basis for Nirvana‘s infringement claim, are the basis for the counterclaim asserted.”

Then everything got turned upside down when the ex-art director for Nirvana’s record label, Robert Fisher, showed up. Fisher entered the lawsuit earlier in 2024, suing Nirvana for using his logo without ever giving him royalties. “For 30 years now, Nirvana has reaped enormous profits from Mr. Fisher‘s works through the sale of a wide range of products,” wrote Fisher‘s lawyers in their suit. “Assisted by a team of lawyers and managers, Nirvana was able to do so without any compensation to Mr. Fisher by falsely claiming authorship and ownership.”

Now Nirvana, Marc Jacobs, and Fisher have all collectively agrees to a mediator’s proposal from Magistrate Judge Steve Kim. A mediator’s proposal is a third party monetary proposal that all parties must consider. Zelle Law explains it better, saying “A mediator’s proposal is generally a ‘take it or leave it’ number proposed by the mediator, typically in writing.

“Each party will generally be given a certain amount of time to accept or reject the proposal. Sometimes a mediator’s proposal is given at the end of the day. Other times, the mediator will extend a mediator’s proposal a day or two after mediation. The mediator’s proposal is often a number neither side likes (and the mediator plans it accordingly).”

No lawyers from any of the three parties have yet commented on the proposal.

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