ExxonMobil Wins First Round in FXX Logo Suit

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ExxonMobil Wins First Round in FXX Logo Suit


LOS ANGELES – Exxon Mobil Corp. may move forward with its claim that the cable television FXX Network's logo dilutes its trademark, a federal judge ruled. 

The lawsuit, filed in October 2013, claims the FXX logo, which features an interlocking XX design, is too similar to ExxonMobil's own logo.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, lawyers for FXX, which was launched last year by FX Networks, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., initially argued that ExxonMobil's claim of dilution should be dismissed because FXX was registered in "standard character" form. The defendant also said Exxon made a "strategic decision" not to oppose the standard character registration, which should not be a surprise due to the existence of other companies using double-X names, such as TJ Maxx and Dos Equis XX.

In response, ExxonMobil argued that standard character form provides only a limited benefit, and were that not the case, ExxonMobil would be free to use the McDonald's stylized "M" without a dilution claim, according to the report.

"A standard character mark provides different protections than a special form mark, and as acknowledged by defendants, parties have numerous reasons for often seeking registration of marks under one format, but not the other," wrote Judge David Hittner in his Aug. 18 ruling in favor of ExxonMobil.

"Based on the plain language of the statute, the court therefore concludes that the phrase 'that mark' does not encompass unregistered stylized variations of a registered standard character mark. … A contrary interpretation could lead to a result of owners of trademarks featuring letters or numbers in design form necessarily opposing any trademark applications that incorporate the letters or characters for which the trademark owners' design marks cover."

The lawsuit will now move forward on the dilution claim, as well as ExxonMobil's trademark and unfair competition claims. 

The suit seeks a court order preventing the network from using the current design "and any other mark confusingly similar," along with treble damages, as CSNews Online previously reported.