There are plenty of reasons to poke fun at Twentieth Century Fox’s new, completely unnecessary FXX network, but it’s unfair to pick on a channel that only has a single decent show (which had to be imported from FX). That hasn’t stopped ExxonMobil from taking a break from profiteering and polluting to sue Fox and FXX for having the gall to make a seemingly obvious logo design choice when presented with two consecutive Xs.
In a lawsuit [PDF] filed in a U.S. District Court in Houston, Exxon exxplains that it’s been using the logo with overlapping Xs since 1971.
“Many of ExxonMobil’s EIX Marks are used and promoted together,” reads the complaint, “and are used on or in connection with related or complementary goods and services. When used with such goods and services, relevant consumers recognize and rely upon ExxonMobil’s EIX Marks as an indicator of origin.”
Then last month, Fox launched — in an attempt to cram even more channels onto your cable bill, which is the true crime here — the FXX network and filed an application for the logo seen above with the Patent and Trademark Office.
The oil folks at Exxon contacted the oily folks at Twentieth Century Fox and asked them to pretty please stop using the logo. Fox said no, presumably because you can not fill up your car’s gas tank with gallons of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
In spite of the fact that the two businesses are entirely unrelated, Exxon claims that the FXX design “is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive customers and potential customers of the parties… as to some affiliation, connection, or association of Defendants’ business with ExxonMobil, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of Defendants’ services by ExxonMobil.”
To back up their claims, Exxon’s presumably highly educated and expensive lawyers researched… Internet forums.
Yes, Exxon, a company that made more money in the time it has taken you to read this than you can ever imagine spending in a lifetime, is relying on semi-anonymous forum and comment posts to bolster a trademark suit against another huge company. This is like getting into a knife fight with a swimming noodle instead of a switchblade.
But for turds and giggles, let’s enjoy some of the evidence presented in Exxon’s complaint:
-NeoGaf forum poster GungHo’s question of “Were they inspired by the Exxon logo?” followed by a response from user hateradio, stating “Damn it, I was going to
-TV.com user JT_Kirk, who wrote that the “FXX logo has to go, that is awful on a plate. Also, Exxon is going to be pissed,” and later reiterated his stance on the topic by declaring, “Also ‘FXX’ sounds stupid and its logo is an awful ripoff of the Exxon 1ogo.”
The question to us isn’t whether they look alike or not — they do have a similar look, though the Xs in the FXX logo overlap in a different direction and the font is different. It’s whether the reasonable consumer could possibly believe that Exxon had anything to do with a new basic cable channel.
We’d like to believe that the average consumer wouldn’t get the two confused, but then again we’re not so sure after this morning’s Burger King surprise.