Don’t mess with the Jack. That’s a lesson cryptocurrency exchange FTX may be about to learn the hard way thanks to a lawsuit launched in California federal court accusing the company of ripping off its mascot to create its own “inferior” Moon Man.
In the suit, first reported on by Law 360, Jack in the Box alleges part of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s $26.5 billion wealth was gained due to the advertorial effectiveness of Moon Man, which Jack in the Box claims was “brazenly and illegally copied” from Jack.
Jack and the Box went as far as to send a cease and desist letter to FTX on October 15. FTX responded by 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.”
At this point, pretty much everyone is aware of what Jack in the Box’s Jack looks like. According to the suit, the original Jack mascot was created in 1951 and went through several iterations (including a terror-inducing “Jack the Clown” phase) before settling on the more recognizable current version in 1995. This Jack, the company reminds the court, is a “humorous, no-nonsense businessman.” This company notes it has a common law trademark over Jack which includes “his large spherical white head, nose, and curvy smile.”
FTX’s Moon Man on the other hand has a less pedigreed past, with the company itself launching in just 2019. Since then, FTX has used Moon Man in a number of advertisements including during some Major League baseball games. A real-life version of Moon Man was actually seen perusing around Dodger Stadium during this year’s National League wild-card game. So exactly how similar are the two humanoid ping pong balls? You can take a look for yourself below.
They do seem pretty similar, but Jack in the Box claims FTXs is worse, so much so that it’s actually, “tarnishing Jack’s reputation to consumers.” To prove this, the suit cites social media posts from users seemingly confused by Moon Man, with one user referring to him as “Jack in the Box’s drugged up cousin.” Another user claimed Moon Man looked like “Jack-In-The-Box with skin cancer.”
Jack in the box is seeking unspecified damages on seven causes of action. Neither FTX nor Jack in the Box immediately responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
You can view the lawsuit in its entirety below.