Exxon Sues Roxx Vodka Over Xs: Oil And Vodka Are Oh So Similar

from the drinking-from-the-gas-pump dept

On the heels of our recent story about Exxon entering a trademark spat with Fox Networks’ FXX channel over the apparently confusion-inducing inclusion of interlocking “X”s in both logos, it appears that Exxon is attempting to make this a thing for some reason. That particular dispute ended in a settlement for which no terms were disclosed, but with, at least this author believes, little or no money changing hands. That said, one of the items of defense in Fox’s response was to point out just how many other companies out there have logos with interlocking “X”s that Exxon wasn’t annoying with its unintelligible views on trademark law. Judging by Exxon’s recent suit against Nielsen Spirits over its Roxx Vodka beverage, which also has a logo using interlocking “X”s, Exxon apparently took Fox’s defense as an impetus to go trademark-suit-hunting.

William Holbrook, Exxon’s corporate media relations senior adviser, recently commented via email about the trademark infringement case.

“ExxonMobil is pursuing legal action against Nielsen Spirits for violating our trademark rights by using a three-stroke interlocking X design in the logo for its new ‘Roxx Vodka’ beverage, and using a three-stroke interlocking X design alone,” Holbrook said. “The public associates the three-stroke interlocking X design with ‘Exxon’ and ‘ExxonMobil,’ and they represent a valuable part of ExxonMobil’s branding. ExxonMobil has protected its three-stroke interlocking X design with numerous trademark registrations, and has been using its three-stroke interlocking X design both alone and as part of ExxonMobil’s distinctive family of ‘Exxon’ and ‘ExxonMobil’ marks for decades.”

Outstanding, except we’re in the exact same place as we were with FXX, a case in which it took two years to come to the conclusion that it is probably unlikely a customer is going to confuse oil/gasoline with a television station. I suppose in this case at least both brands represent liquids, but not even a moron in a hurry would stop by the liquor store to fill up the tank, just because a bottle inside has a “three-stroke interlocking X design” on the label. Roxx’s logo doesn’t even look anything like Exxon’s:

The point is that trademark law has a very handy provision within it stating that, for infringement to occur, the two entities must be competing in the same marketplace and industry. Vodka isn’t oil. It’s only application as a lubricant is a social one, and it won’t make your truck go. All the interlocking “X”s in the world won’t make it otherwise, yet Exxon’s filing claims the opposite.

Nice to know what they think of us, I suppose. Hopefully this suit won’t take two years to go away, too…

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: exxon, roxx

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Comments on “Exxon Sues Roxx Vodka Over Xs: Oil And Vodka Are Oh So Similar”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They’ll say it’s just backwards Russians with no impact or some such stupidity.

Exxon is called Esso in Canada, I always wondered why, thinking maybe some small company was already called Exxon here, but now that seems unlikely…if someone knows the answer to that question, feel free to tell me.

They sure want to make up money for their legal dept. since the fracking frenzy is about to end and only Exxon when you consider the large oil companies bothers investing in that, so maybe it’s some strategy devised to make up for the loss of revenue, they did try the same trick with FX’s interlocking F and X right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not the first time they have bullied people not in their industry

Here is the information on the trademark from Wikipedia.

“In 1985, Minolta introduced a new autofocus SLR camera system named “Maxxum” in the United States. Originally, cameras (such as the Maxxum 7000) lenses and flashes used a logo with the X’s crossed in ‘MAXXUM’.[5] Exxon considered this a violation of their trademark, and as a result, Minolta was allowed to distribute cameras already produced, but was forced to change the stylistic ‘XX’ and implement this as a change in new production.[6]”


Moron in a hurry says:

That explains it! Damn scammers!

The other day I changed my oil and thought I would try out this really clean looking synthetic oil from eXXon called RoXX.

Shortly after changing the oil my motor seized, Billy Jo down the way said the inside of the engine was really clean, like someone cleaned it with alchohol but all the oil had leaked out and thats why is seized.

When I called RoXX to complain about their crappy oil they thought I was some jokster trying to pull a prank, so I called the parent company Exxon and they claimed they never made a product called RoXX.

This article clears it all up, this RoXX company must be some fly by night scam selling fake Exxon oil! Not only does their imitation oil suck, its really expensive too.

From now on I’m using Quaker State, I hear their oil is “Just Damn Good”, you can read about it here: http://thelube.com/

Principal says:


Just another case of bullying. And apparently more money than they know what to do with. Maybe they should spend this money on something more worthwhile, like cleaning up oil spills and stocking fish. Jerks.

Would be good to know which executive ordered this lawsuit. Get him/her out there on social media for a taste of their own medicine. I’m sure the shareholders are thrilled about this expense as well. Nothing like wasting time and money on frivolous lawsuits that acomplish nothing even if they did win.

Zonker says:

“The public associates the three-stroke interlocking X design with ‘Exxon’ and ‘ExxonMobil,’ and they represent a valuable part of ExxonMobil’s branding.

Odd, I thought that it was the Valdez oil spill that the public associates with Exxon and ExxonMobil. That was some viral marketing back in the day. I never even noticed the stupid three-stroke XX in their logo before.

Jean Ferguson says:

EXXON vs Roxx

Well, Exxon was suing FOXX and then dropped that, so now they go after a great start up company that makes VODKA???
What happened to the AMERICAN DREAM? Is it always about the big guys stomping on the little guys??? They can’t own the XX’s (I see them everywhere, they’ve been used since the first century AD… Don’t they have things to clean up or improve??? SHAME ON THEM!!!

Monday (profile) says:

Maybe some Sec. 230 'like' protection...

I’ve been reading the replies from this, along with many other TD threads, and it really sounds like some sort of “Section 230 of the CDA” kinda protection really needs to be drafted for the “Little Guy”, and even the big ones, who are (seemingly) endlessly meeting with these constant, resource consuming frivolous lawsuits over non-extant copyright infringement.

If Internet services providers have a level of protection against really bad judgement called lawsuits, how can companies, large or small, be protected from time after time tested stupidity. Unless a company or individual is shown to have knowingly tread on their namebrand etc., then there should be protection like Section 230… BUT HOW???

That is the literal million dollar question. Before any legal proceedings even begin, or some legal ‘stamp of approval’ gives them consent, the Plaintiff(s) needs to prove they have a really good grasp of copyright law – in the least – and have a definite complaint that needs to be settled.

I’m not a Lawyer, or Legal Professor, so I have no idea how this rampant abuse of the very, very, very broken legal system could be even approached, let alone addressed and / or fixed.

I’m just saying…

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