Greenpeace wins against oil giant

Feature story - 5 February, 2004
Esso lost its court case against Greenpeace in France yesterday in a victory for freedom of expression on the web and for our campaign against the world's #1 environmental criminal.

Parody of Esso logo

As part of our "Don't buy Esso, Don't buy Exxon/Mobil" campaign, we developed a parody of Esso's logo with a double dollar sign: E$$O. (Esso is the name under which Exxon/Mobil trades in many parts of the world outside North America)

Esso took us to court for copyright infringement, claiming our Stop Esso website would "confuse customers" into thinking they were at a real Esso site. Hmmm. Esso customers must be a particularly dim lot. Would you be confused by this?

In case that wasn't enough, Esso also made the feeble attempt to claim that the logo made them look like Nazis, given a similarity only they could see between two dollar signs together and the stylized Nazi SS symbol.

But the real belly laugh came when Esso claimed that our abuse of their logo would damage their "good reputation." This is the company that has done more than any other corporation to undermine the science and policy debate on global warming. This is the company that donated massively to George Bush's election campaign, and was rewarded with the US withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol. This is the company that despoiled the pristine Alaskan coastline with an oil spill the effects of which are still with us today. This is the company responsible for 5 percent of all greenhouse gasses on the planet. This is the company which has been branded environmental criminal #1 and been targeted by activists all over the world in a massive "Don't Buy Esso" campaign. If Esso was really worried about its reputation, it might try doing something for our planet and our children's future instead of using its gargantuan legal resources to try and stamp out the wildfire of dissent.

The court ruled our parody of the Esso logo was within acceptable limits of freedom of expression, rejecting Esso's claims of tradmark infringement. Greenpeace has been campaigning against the oil giant since 2001 when US President George Bush pulled the US out of the international negotiations to tackle climate change.

"Esso has spent millions in its fight to stop the world's government's tackling climate change, and was behind Bush pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. Esso obviously thought this case would be an easy win but it was wrong. Today's ruling is a victory in the fight to protect the climate against a company that will go to any means to silence its critics," said Greenpeace campaigner, Anita Goldsmith.

Celebrate with us. Next time you pass an Esso or Exxon station, put your thumb to your nose, wiggle your fingers, and say: Naaa-naaa-naaa-naaa-naaaaa, Don't buy E$$O!

Take action!

Don't buy Esso.

Don't buy Exxon/Mobil.

More information

Greenpeace obtains smoking-gun memo: Exxon - White House link.

Victory animation

Spank Exxon/Mobil! game.