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: trademark, vodka, xx
Companies: exxon, roxx


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  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 3 Nov 2015 @ 12:01am

    Lawyer thankin'

    Exxon makes Ethanol fuel.
    Ethanol contains ethyl alcohol (drinkin.
    Exxon makes alcohol.
    Trademark infringement!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 12:40am

    Oh FFS, when is the lawyers making themselves seem needed bubble finally going to burst?

    At some point a corporation is finally going to ask why the hell they are paying for litigation this stupid (and if they aren't perhaps the shareholders might look for those with the common sense required).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 1:41am

    The orthodox christian churches uses interlocking X's too. Maybe they should trademark-bully Exxon?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:50am

      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?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 1:59am

    When an oil company has to make money with lawsuits about a logo should we be worried that the whole peak oil thing was real and they are trying to find alternative sources of income?

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

  • icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:23am

    technically...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:51am

    The captain of the Exxon Valdez made Exxon hate alcohol ;-)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 4:54am

    I always get porn confused with exxon

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

  • icon
    Blue Adept (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:16am

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

    Minolta had a line of camera lenses known as Maxxum. They used a similar xx pattern as Exxon and were sued. They made Minolta change their entire line of lenses to be changed so they no longer had the crossed x's.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 5:05am

      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]"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon

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

  • icon
    David (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:51am

    Next they will sue Red Foxx.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:51am

    Joseph Hazelwood?

    Wonder, if Roxx was what he was drinking in 1989...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:54am

    I'd argue they actually have a case here. After all, both liquids give my stomach that fuzzy-warm feeling when I ingest them.

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

  • icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:55am

    LMAO

    One of the Big Bad Corporations in the Marvel Universe(s) is the energy company Roxxon.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 6:41am

    Monster Exxon

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

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 7:25am

    Too much free time...

    It occurs to me that this prolly has very little to do with upper Management. This sounds like a legal department making work for itself when in actual fact they have too much time on their hands, and took the "get to work!" from their department head the wrong way - trademark trolling will only save their jobs so many times.

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

  • identicon
    John Q Public, 3 Nov 2015 @ 7:50am

    Dear Exxon,

    I think I represent the majority of the public when I say this; Just how freakin' stupid do you think we are??!

    Sincerely,
    John Q Public

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 3 Nov 2015 @ 8:17am

    WWII automotive Fuel: Ethanol

    Well, I *could* run my car off of Roxx -- if they would only make it high enough proof! E85, anyone?

    However, the price of Roxx might be just a wee bit high--prolly around $20-40 per gallon! lol

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 8:36am

    Why yes, I recently tried to fill my car with Roxx by mistake. It kept me awake all night honking that damned horn in a drunken frenzy.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 3 Nov 2015 @ 8:54am

    Oh, for fuxx ache!

    More bored lawyers.

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

  • identicon
    One Prince William Sound Fisherman, 3 Nov 2015 @ 9:16am

    exxon OWES ME $2,000,000.00

    Fuck exxon. They never paid a lot of us fishermen for dumping 11,000,000 gallons of oil in our fishing grounds. FUCK exxon.

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

  • identicon
    Moron in a hurry, 3 Nov 2015 @ 10:36am

    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/

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 7:20pm

    In large quantities?

    Sure. In large quantities, both gas and vodka are bad for you! But you can drink a lot more vodka than gasoline...

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

  • identicon
    Principal, 3 Nov 2015 @ 8:05pm

    Bullies

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Harald K, 3 Nov 2015 @ 11:30pm

    Makes perfect sense to me, they're both in the business of poisoning people for profit!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 5:20am

    Next weeks news
    Alchohol company sues Oil company for having combustible like products

    How dare you crude oil for your stolen chemical composition....you've got some s'planing to do Lucy

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 4 Nov 2015 @ 11:44am

    "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.

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

  • identicon
    Jean Ferguson, 4 Nov 2015 @ 12:40pm

    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!!!

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

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 4 Nov 2015 @ 2:06pm

    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...

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

  • identicon
    Clay Gordon, 4 Nov 2015 @ 11:58pm

    Exxon Suxx

    Just could not resist the irony.

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

  • identicon
    Andrew Radford, 12 Nov 2015 @ 11:24pm

    Cross of Lorraine

    There was an Isaac Asimov story that had a young French boy mistaking the interlocking x's in Exxon for a Cross of Lorraine tilted to one side.

    So maybe the French or the American Lung Association should sue Exxon for trademark infringement.

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


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