Exxon Mobil Says Vodka Brand Is Unlawfully Using Its XX Logo

Oil Giant Targets Roxx Vodka After Settling Trademark Infringement Case With FX Networks

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Exxon Mobil is suing Nielsen Spirits, makers of Roxx Vodka, for trademark infringement.
Exxon Mobil is suing Nielsen Spirits, makers of Roxx Vodka, for trademark infringement. Credit: Exxon Mobil logo courtesy ExxonMobil Corp and Roxx Vodka courtesy Nielsen Spirits.

Exxon Mobil Corp. -- which recently settled a trademark infringement case with FX Networks -- is now targeting the maker of Roxx Vodka over the use of the oil giant's interlocking XX logo.

In a complaint filed this week in a federal court in Florida, Exxon Mobil alleges that the XX in the vodka brand's logo will confuse consumers into thinking that the vodka brand is affiliated with the oil and gas company. Exxon Mobil wants to prohibit Roxx from using the interlocking XX's and is seeking profits gained by the vodka brand related to the "wrongful activities," according to the complaint.

Roxx is owned by Nielsen Spirits, which describes itself as a "two-person startup" that sells Roxx in Arizona and Southern California. In a statement, Roxx called the lawsuit a "classic case of David vs. Goliath, or more accurately the schoolyard bully throwing its weight around." The company added: "It is ridiculous, if not insulting, to suggest that any reasonable consumer would ever confuse the Exxon logo with Roxx's distinguishable mark. The day a consumer confuses Roxx for gasoline, even high test, is the day we're out of businesses."

Exxon Mobil spokesman William Holbrook said in an email that "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."

Exxon Mobil settled a similar trademark infringement suit against FX Networks last week. FX Networks is part of 21st Century Fox.

The complaint was filed in 2013 shortly after FX launched its FXX network, whose logo includes interlocking XXs. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The parties agreed to pay their own legal fees associated with the case, according to a court document, which stated that "the parties stipulate to the dismissal without prejudice of all claims in this action."

"The litigation was settled before trial in a manner acceptable to both Fox and ExxonMobil," Mr. Holbrook said. An FX Network spokesman did not immediately return an email for comment.

FXX was still using the interlocking-x logo online and on TV this week.

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