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.

  • lintmag

    They surely had the budget to use real Louis, but I doubt many people noticed or cared. It seems like LV should have more important things to worry about than this minor incident.
    Maybe they charge so much for their items to pay off all the lawyers!

  • JD

    I’m actually with LV on this one. The production team should’ve used authentic goods since there are actual references to the bag, especially this being a really popular film. I think any major house would’ve done the same. Can you imagine Hermes being ok with a fake Birkin referred to as a real one in a world wide film?

    • Linda

      That actually did happen, in SATC 2. While in a market, a tug or war ensued and Samantha said “you broke my Birkin” and it was obviously a very bad fake.

  • weaslgrl

    I agree with LV, too. With product placement being rampant in movies and TV, a viewer could surmise that LV wanted their goods featured in this film (ugh), and that the goods were the real thing.

  • Musette

    the only way this could’ve worked is if the character was ‘fronting’ and the response was indicative that this clearly was a knock-off.

    Otherwise, LV is right to take issue with it.

    xo

  • kemilia

    I haven’t seen the movie (and probably won’t) but was it a joke–that the character was claiming his luggage was the real thing yet everyone else around him knew it wasn’t and were smirking like “oh yeah, dude, you’re carrying Louis Vuitton”?

    Or was it really supposed to be authentic LV? If that’s the case, then yes, LV is in the right.

  • Mirna

    I read that LV was even more upset because people are buying the knock off and have been looking for it constantly since the film. They could’ve used authentic items but I guess they cut corners where they can.

  • Shana

    Honestly… I understand that the fake handbag market is incredibly large and ultimately takes away money from the real brands, but does LV really need to sue the movie? Why not just attack Diophy directly?

    • erion

      Shana, fake handbag market doesnt take away money from real brands.
      People that buy fake handbags, they know it’s a fake ,and they are buying a fake because it’s a fraction of what a real thing costs. That’s what they can afford. Their intention wasn’t in buying the real thing from the beginning.If there were no fakes in the market ,they weren’t gonna go and buy a $3000 LV purse, they would have bought some other “cheap” kind of a handbag. Also people that have money and want an LV, aren’t going to buy a fake.!

      • Wesley

        Totally agreed! Both are targeted for different market from the beginning.

  • ninjaninja

    I think when Zach Galifianakis’ character said “Careful, this is a Louis Vuitton,” we’re suppose to laugh because it’s a fake.

    • Shana

      He pronounces it like “Loo-is” not “Louis” so we are supposed to laugh because he doesn’t even say the name right. I think they had him do that to protect themselves. He didn’t actually say it was a Louis Vuitton…

      • Bagolicious

        That’s the way that I remember the scene playing out, too. In other words as a joke as the movie was a comedy.

    • Bagolicious

      Exactly. I saw the movie when it first came out. And there’s no way that that luggage even looked like real Vuitton. I’ve had real Vuitton luggage for more than 25 years. I took the whole movie luggage scene as a joke.

      So, if LV wants to go after someone, then they can spend all of their time going after all of the luggage makers who do LV knockoffs. That ought to keep them busy until eternity.

  • rose60610

    I’d have to see the scene to make an opinion, but regardless what I’d think, this is one for the courts to determine.

    I wonder if LV would have a problem with the Manhattan bakery that made a cake that you’d swear was a LV bag. If nothing else, that was real cake decorating talent.

  • mia

    LoL people are all sue-happy these days. Why so serious? lol

  • J Umm

    WOO go LV.

    LV should defo not let this one slide, allowing them to go off scot free would mean that they are allowing the WB promote the sale of replica goods.

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  • Seriously?

    Seriously people? It’s a comedy. ZG’s character is supposed to be a buffoon/moron. He is carrying a bag that doesn’t look anything like LV, but tried to pass it off as such (while mispronouncing it, at that). Do your research. Pretty sure LV hopes to gain publicity out of this lawsuit more than anything.

  • ChangeTheCut

    @Seriously?
    You are totally right- my thoughts exactly!
    It is supposed to be a joke!
    I do not understand the buzz but i do not understand even more the reasons why some purseblog readers are with LV in this!
    IT IS JUST A FUNNY SCENE from a movie.

  • Jeannine

    Agreed. This lawsuit is ridiculous. The scene is in jest. It’s not supposed to be real LV. The hilarity of that scene is the fact that the character thinks is it real and it is so obviously fake. Duh. I cannot believe LV (or anyone else for that matter) really believes that the pieces were trying to be passed off as real LV. If they had used real LV, the scene would not have worked.

  • KoutureCrochet

    Haven’t seen the movie.

    Depends on the scene, of it’s parody LV is wrong and will lose, if it’s supposed to be fake and that’s the joke LV is likewise wrong and will lose.

    If however its supposed to be the real thing than they MIGHT, MIGHT have cause to sue.

    But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. LV should just let it go, it’s a comedy and not hurting LV any. The only way I can see them making a case for this is if they think it helps their case against the people who make the fakes?

    KC
    Luxury Cashmere, Alpaca, Camel, and Merino Scarves, Ties & more.
    http://www.kouturecrochet.com

  • camilla

    LV for ever . All over the world is The Brand

  • mochababe73

    So, LV is upset that a fake bag was used. To remedy that they sue for some of the profits from the movie? For using the fake bag?
    Doesn’t make sense at all. The scene was a joke pure and simple. LV is wasting time and money and will look stupid when it’s dismissed.

  • Stephanie

    I haven’t seen the movie but my first reaction was that the fake LV was part of the joke. Isn’t it the guy who french kisses his dog the one who is carrying it? Isn’t he the type that would say it was real but it isn’t. I would think LV would like the publicity.

  • 19yearslater

    LV’s many lawsuits against silly pop culture are convincing me more and more that I don’t want another one of their products.

  • Kat

    Louis Vuitton trademark is like a patent on a drug. Maybe there should be a time limit. Like with music or name brand drugs knockoffs/generic is available after 20 years.

  • Monica

    I’m with lv ,sick of all the fakes around . We pay good money for our legit bags.

  • Subbz

    For people saying that it was obvious the bags were fake, not everybody is LV obsessed as we are and although I spend many hours ogling LV purses I wouldn’t realize at a glance that it wasn’t LV. Frankly LV are just being greedy, what ever happened to a sense of humor?

  • Mel

    Wasn’t it the point that Zach’s character was so inept that he either knew it to be fake, or otherwise didn’t know it to be fake, but either way passed it off as LV, both frames of mind being as silly as eachother?

  • beth ryer

    u go to CHINA , THAILND < KOREA and PHILIPPINES,,even NEW YORK (china town seller are rampant wd branded bags,,, does each respective country put a stpo into this bruhaha ??

  • Upset mom

    Louis vuitton should take an interest in the customers who support them. They love your money but when something goes wrong with their bags they run the other way. Has anyone ever had them stand behind you when something goes wrong with a bag? It is always different when the shoe is on the other foot. They need to work on their customer service. They are a bunch of snobs.

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  • StylishMary.com

    Fakes are always bad!! Warner should be ashamed of themselves! I’m sure they wouldn’t like someone copying their brand and referring to it as it was real! I liked the movie but this new is very disappointing!

  • jb

    i love that they never sued Friends for the final episode where Rachel clearly has fake LVs and she’s getting ready to go work for LV in Paris

  • http://twitter.com/caseypham Casey Pham

    I’m sure they used a fake to emphasize Alan’s character (aka dumb), I think they could have afforded a real one if they wanted to…

  • Anonymous

    i bet they wouldn’t sue it if sex and the city use fake lv

  • Tahirih007

    What they should have done is produce the product in a limited edition. And of course take them to court. 

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