Louis Vuitton loses case over Murakami knockoff

Louis Vuitton has just lost a 4 year court case against Dooney & Bourke, involving their It Bag (pictured), which LV alleged looked too much like their popular Murakami design.

The LV Murakami design was introduced in 2002 and generated sales of $145 million by 2006. D&B launched their “It Bag” in 2003, and it has generated sales of more than $100 million. Which is a good reason for LV’s anxiety.

But the judge Shira Scheindlin said:

“[Louis Vuitton] offered no proof that the similarities in the marks is likely to confuse ordinary consumers, whether it is at the point of initial interest, point-of-sale, or post-sale. Even the testimony of Louis Vuitton’s director of intellectual property suggests Louis Vuitton’s infringement claim is not necessarily premised on a likelihood of confusion between its products and those of [the] defendant, but rather Louis Vuitton’s distaste at being associated with the ‘It Bags.”

It shows the limits of owning a ‘look’ – which is hard to protect – as opposed to specific designs.

This is at least the second case involving the Murakami design this year. 

In January, LV sued artist Nadia Plesner, who created a t-shirt and poster of a starving child holding a Murakami bag and chihuahua to protest the media attention given to Paris Hilton while children in Darfur are starving.

LV was not impressed, and took action to stop the sale of the items.

The case is ongoing.

IP laws are not really set up for brand owners to control usage of their designs for political purposes.

(Dooney & Bourke story via uk.fashion.popsugar.com)

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