Fox, Exxon Trademark Spat Of Stupid Finally Ends After Two Years Of Dumb

from the x-factor dept

So often when we exam the really silly trademark disputes here, they're typically between a large corporation and a much smaller entity. The reason for this should be self-evident: trademark bullies are like every other kind of bully in that they prey on those they think can be pushed around. But it isn't always that way. In fact, some of the really stupid stuff can, in fact, happen between two massive corporations. Witness the final resolution of the fight between ExxonMobil and Fox Network, which stemmed entirely from the grand issue of interlocking "x"s.

It all started two years ago, when ExxonMobil decided that the following two logos were entirely too similar and actually argued that customers might be confused between the two companies.


Confused? No? Well, ExxonMobil sure thought you would be, which is why they filed a trademark lawsuit against Fox for $20 million, claiming that consumers would be confused into thinking the two companies were in some way affiliated or connected. It's quite an argument to make over a couple of connected X's, I think, especially considering the two companies operate in marketplaces about as different as could possibly be. Fox said as much at the time the suit was filed.

At the time of the lawsuit filing, a spokesperson for FX network responded, "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."
Fox also pointed out that there are many other companies out there using interlocking X's that ExxonMobil wasn't annoying with lawsuits. An apparently real judge refused to dismiss the claim at Fox's request, however, so this entire comedy show was all set to go to trial...

...except now there's been a settlement. After Judge David Hittner recently granted a summary judgement in favor of Fox on the issue of actual damages (derp, there weren't any), the only remaining issue was whether Fox should pay some kind of reasonable licensing fee to ExxonMobil over the interlocking X's.
The dispute was scheduled to go to a jury trial on November 9. On Friday, though, both sides stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice. Terms of the settlement haven't been revealed. Fox has declined comment.
We can't be sure because the settlement terms aren't public, but I suspect ExxonMobil came away from this two-year clown-show with a meaningless licensing deal for either no money at all or very, very little money (certainly less than was spent on lawyers). Still, good on them for taking on someone that could put up a fight. It's a measure of progress of a sort, I suppose, even if it was monumentally silly.

Filed Under: fxx, trademark
Companies: exxon, fox


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Oct 2015 @ 10:04pm

    Yes and no

    We can't be sure because the settlement terms aren't public, but I suspect ExxonMobil came away from this two-year clown-show with a meaningless licensing deal for either no money at all or very, very little money (certainly less than was spent on lawyers). Still, good on them for taking on someone that could put up a fight. It's a measure of progress of a sort, I suppose, even if it was monumentally silly.

    If they did managed to get Fox to agree to a 'licensing deal' for the interlocking X's, even if no money changed hands this time, odds are good they'll take this settlement to the smaller companies and threaten them to pay up as well. If they can get a company as large as Fox to settle, what possible chance do smaller companies have?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2015 @ 1:27am

      Re: Yes and no

      If the settlement is confidential, showing it to another company would be a breach of the settlement. However, by keeping it confidential, Exxon can insinuate that Fox settled on their terms by just saying Fox settled even when they got nothing out of the settlement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 12:35am

    We see some batshit-insane stuff out of individual plaintiffs and massive footgun maneuvers out of corporate plaintiffs vs. small defendants, but for truly epic-scale stupidity (the kind that makes for tales that could've been written by Doc Smith and that'll still be told an age from now) you need two massive, implacable bureaucracies set on a collision course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 22 Oct 2015 @ 1:58am

    I guess they'll be after tic tac toe next...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 3:00am

    ...when ExxonMobil decided that the following two logos were entirely too similar and actually argued that customers might be confused between the two companies.
    What's to be confused about? Both companies spill crap no one wants to see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    rw (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 5:30am

    This didn't really have anything at all to do with trademark...Only about keeping the poor, unfortunate lawyers gainfully employed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2015 @ 6:27am

    Fox only has one X in it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bureau13 (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 6:53am

    It bothers me that Fox settled in any way. It's a bad precedent that at the very least, allows Exxon to save face, and they really should not be allowed to do that here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 22 Oct 2015 @ 7:28am

    Different markets?

    It's quite an argument to make over a couple of connected X's, I think, especially considering the two companies operate in marketplaces about as different as could possibly be.

    Sorry, not with you here. Both companies are fundamentally relying on distorting reality and spreading capitalist propaganda in order to secure their market and make their ends justify actually rather ugly means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    kP (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 7:45am

    Fedex needs to get in on this gangbang

    The embedded right-pointing arrow in the Fedex logo is getting stepped on by the Exxon logo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2015 @ 7:48am

    Wait. Fox isn't a subsidiary of big oil?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MattP, 22 Oct 2015 @ 8:23am

    Interlocking Xs?

    They're just mad that someone else wants to use the double cross symbol in their logo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2015 @ 10:20am

    Difficult

    The real challenge for Exxon Mobile will be to locate a moron who could in a hurry get confused and try to put television programming in the gas tank.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 10:54am

    What's the point of seeing a Kaiju fight...

    if we don't get to see Tokyo ravaged?

    Talk about anticlimactic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bgmcb (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 12:32pm

    Fox lost

    If Fox did not get back the cost for this they lost.
    Everybody did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 23 Oct 2015 @ 7:59am

    Interesting thing I just learned

    Exxon used to be named "Humble". I'll just leave that there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 24 Oct 2015 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Interesting thing I just learned


    Exxon used to be named "Humble"

    There is a town outside of Houston, Texas, which is named ``Humble''. It is hard to imagine a Humble, Texas, but there you have it. I think one of the major oil companies started there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2015 @ 12:17pm

    It bothers me that Fox settled in any way. It's a bad precedent that at the very least, allows Exxon to save face, and they really should not be allowed to do that here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    G Nicholls, 12 Sep 2017 @ 7:01pm

    bullys

    exxon are bullies! don't they have anything better to do. all these companies are completely different. I will never buy gas from them again. spread the word!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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