For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Les Chavs Françaises

AHN reports that Louis Vuitton has settled a French suit with Sony BMG regarding the use of mocked up Louis Vuitton products in pop videos. Britney Spears drove a car with a dashboard covered in Louis Vuitton logos, rapper Da Brat was shown playing with a Louis Vuitton beach ball and Reuben Studdard (the winner of American Pop Idol) was pictured in a jacket with a Louis Vuitton emblem on the cover of his album.

LVMH’s IP Director said:

"We are very pleased to have successfully resolved these matters in a manner that protects our brand and our customers.

We believe the terms of this agreement will provide strong enough protection to our brand worldwide and we are gratified that Sony BMG has agreed to educate its record labels about our trademarks and copyrights in order to prevent the misuses of our intellectual property in the future."

The IPKat finds the issue a little difficult. The Kat can see why an association with Ms Spears might not be the best way to further a luxury image, but can brands really afford to pick and choose their customers (and can they really do so on a day to day basis?). These were essentially fake goods, or at least goods that Louis Vuitton hadn’t made, but what if Britney and her pals were, say, featured in a video boarding a plane, carrying a genuine Louis Vuitton suitcase? The argument about preserving the brand’s image would still apply, but it would make it impossible for artists to use branded goods in their videos, their works of art, in films etc. Do we really want to make artistic expression so difficult (and do we really want to put so much power in the hands of the trade mark owners). In the real world, goods feature their trade marks conspicuously. Shouldn’t artistic expressions be able to reflect this?

The IPKat also notes with interest that, although the videos were American, the case was set to take place in France.

For goodness sake, don't anyone tell LVMH about this pop video

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