The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Houston, challenges 21st Century Fox’s trademark registration and seeks an injunction requiring that FXX remove the logo and stop using it. It also seeks triple damages for the harm caused to Exxon for the marketplace confusion.
The oil giant said that it contacted FXX to ask them to remove and stop using the interlocking FXX design, but they refused.
Among other things, Exxon Mobil argues that the use of the logo is a violation of the Lanham Act, which governs trademark law, and that it is likely to “cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive customers and potential customers.” They argue that it makes it look as if FXX is affiliated with Exxon.
ExxonMobil even included Internet comments from various websites, including one on TV.com in which a commenter wrote, “That FXX logo has to go, that is awful on a plate. Also, Exxon is going to be pissed.”
A spokesman for FX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for ExxonMobil said in a statement that the “public associates the interlocking Xs with ‘Exxon’ and ‘ExxonMobil,’ and they represent a valuable part of our branding. ExxonMobil has protected its interlocking-X designs with numerous trademark registrations, and has been using its interlocking Xs both alone and as part of ExxonMobil’s distinctive family of ‘Exxon’ and ‘ExxonMobil’ marks for decades.”
Update: FXX released a statement, in which the new network called the lawsuit “entirely meritless.”
“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.'”