Louis Vuitton, the dogged pursuit of parody and Britney Spears

Roshana Kelbrick (Department of Mercantile Law, Unisa) has sent the IPKat news of the failure of luxury handbag-maker Louis Vuitton's claim that a Las Vegas company infringed its trade mark with its furry "Chewy Vuiton" dog toys. A US Circuit Court of Appeals (judgment here) has affirmed the trial court's ruling that Haute Diggity Dog's toys were just a harmless parody. According to the court,
"the juxtaposition of the similar and dissimilar — the irreverent representation and the idealized image of an LVM handbag — immediately conveys a joking and amusing parody. The furry little 'Chewy Vuiton' imitation, as something to be chewed by a dog, pokes fun at the elegance and expensiveness of a LOUIS VUITTON handbag, which must not be chewed by a dog".
Other parodies manufactured by the same defendant include "Chewnel No. 5," "Furcedes" (left) and "Sniffany & Co."

Louis Vuitton, which also makes some pet products, objected that the dog products used the same geometric symbols and colour combinations as its own products. The court was not however convinced that there was sufficient similarity to cause any consumer confusion. So far Haute Diggity Dog's successful defence of its product portrayals has cost it over US$300,000.

Ben Challis (Music Law Updates) writes to tell the IPKat: "Five Eight reports that Sony BMG and MTV Online have been found guilty of violating counterfeiting laws in a Britney Spears video. Luxury goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton brought forward the case after noticing a similarity between in-car upholstery in the video for 'Do Something' [isn't that 'Do Somethin', asks the IPKat] and its own Cherry blossoms design. A Paris civil court has ordered the two companies to desist from broadcasting or marketing the video and fined them E80,000 apiece", He adds that he received this:
"Good afternoon,

In connection with a court proceeding in France brought by Louis Vuitton, a judgment was entered against SONY BMG this week regarding the music video for the Britney Spears track “Do Something. The original video included a short shot of Vuitton fabric contained on the interior of a pink Hummer vehicle. The court held that this video infringed Vuitton’s rights.

Please confirm and take down if live on your service the below.

Britney video 'Do Something' USZM20500003

Thanks in advance".
Louis Vuitton, the dogged pursuit of parody and Britney Spears Louis Vuitton, the dogged pursuit of parody and Britney Spears Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, November 23, 2007 Rating: 5


Anonymous said...

Recent Dutch case in which Louis Vuitton was the infringer; The case of the Naked Girls Alphabet: Read the official declation of Louis Vuitton on:



Anonymous said...

I can just see Louis Vuitton suing the local greengrocer because the red fruit with stalks displayed in the shop have a striking similarity with its own cherry blossoms design ...

Actually, looking at the bag: cherry blossom??? Looks like ripe cherries to me ...

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