Image via Gawker
We know that Louis Vuitton is willing to sue anyone and everyone in order to make sure that its logo or name isn’t used in any ways of which it doesn’t approve; after all, the company sued Hyundai last year over the brief appearance of a monogrammed basketball in one of its commercials. The ball didn’t even have an “LV” on it, but that didn’t stop Vuitton from filing a trademark infringement complaint against the Korean carmaker. When it comes to trademark issues, LVMH is perhaps more steadfast and humorless than any other company on the planet.
The latest target in the crosshairs of the LVMH legal department is Warner Brothers, the production company behind The Hangover 2. The movie apparently contains some faux luggage that one of the characters refers to as real, which has Vuitton brass none too pleased.
I haven’t seen the movie, but according to Gawker, Zach Galifianakis says at one point, “Careful, this is a Louis Vuitton.” LVMH believes that the line has become a recognizable catchphrase (I feel fairly confident that they’re wrong because I’ve never heard anyone say that, ever, but what do I know?) and that the ensuing notoriety of the scene has caused the brand damage. (I’m also fairly confident that they’re wrong about that too.)
What’s interesting, though, is that Vuitton isn’t claiming that the movie used counterfeit goods. Instead, the lawsuit claims that Warner Brothers used luggage made by a company called Diophy Handbags, which produces those heinous “almost-Vuitton” bags that you see hocked at carts in the mall. For their part, Louis Vuitton also has a pendling lawsuit against Diophy for trademark infringement.
So what do you think – does LVMH have a legitimate case? Should the movie’s production staff have sourced real Louis Vuitton to borrow for the film, which would certainly have been easy to do in Los Angeles? Or should a fictional character in a fictional movie claiming that a prop is made by a brand that didn’t actually make it be a total non-issue? Share your thoughts in the comments.