Jack in the Box claims in court FTX US ripped off its character to create ‘Moon Man’

The filing shows FTX refused to stop using its mascot, claiming “Jack in the Box has only narrow protection limited to the behatted ping pong‐headed clown who exploded out of a box to sell burgers.”

Lawyers for major fast food chain Jack in the Box have filed a lawsuit against crypto exchange FTX US for copyright and trademark infringement of its “Jack” mascot.

According to federal court documents filed in the Southern District of California on Wednesday, Jack in the Box’s legal team is requesting a jury trial, claiming FTX US’ Moon Man character — Lou Nar, an adult male typically dressed in polo shirts with the head of a moon used for Major League Baseball events — is a ripoff of the company’s current version of its Jack mascot. The fast-food company describes its character as “a typical adult human male, with the exception of his large spherical white head, blue dot eyes, nose, and curvy smile.”

“Rather than spending its vast financial resources to develop its own intellectual property, FTX brazenly and illegally copied or derived its ‘Moon Man’ mascot from JITB’s Jack,” the company alleged in court documents:

“Just like Jack, FTX’s Moon Man has a spherical white head also affixed to a talking human actor, with blue-dotted eyes, a nose, and a smile. The two characters are strikingly similar in both appearance and behavior. For example, the Moon Man also changes his facial expressions and clothing attire throughout advertisements and appearances, just like Jack.”

Jack in the Box’s legal team added that it considered the FTX US mascot a “far inferior version” of Jack, claiming it was tarnishing the fast-food company’s reputation among consumers. The documents list incidents of reporters and many on social media comparing the two characters’ appearance, sometimes describing the Moon Man as a “dirty” version of Jack.

Though the original version of Jack in the Box’s character was created in 1951, the current ‘Jack’ or ‘Jack I. Box’ voiced by Dick Sitting was developed in 1995 and appeared in more than 300 television and radio commercials. Crypto exchange FTX was founded in 2019 and introduced the Moon Man this year.

The filing shows lawyers for Jack in the Box sent FTX a cease and desist letter to stop using the character on Oct. 15, to which FTX refused, claiming “Jack in the Box has only narrow protection limited to the behatted ping pong‐headed clown who exploded out of a box to sell burgers.” Jack in the Box’s case includes allegations related to copyright infringement, trademark dilution, trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition.

Related: Copyright infringement and NFTs: How artists can protect themselves

Many pictures, symbols and memes have often been used by figures in the crypto space to pump or create FUD around some tokens, including Pepe the Frog, and even the Bitcoin (BTC) logo, itself, attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto. In June 2020, someone anonymously registered the BTC name and logo with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office claiming they wanted to “protect Bitcoin.”

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