Austin Technology Law Blog
Lewis Vuitton Loses One, Louis Vuitton Wins One.
We all know that Louis Vuitton is very aggressive in protecting their intellectual property. We noted that they were successful in obtaining a large judgment from the operators of a San Antonio flea market for contributory infringement.
They have continued their protective efforts unabated and two recent decisions provided them with mixed (although perhaps justified) results.
First the victory. Louis Vuitton had filed a case against in Federal District Court in Nevada against 182 websites and 1,000 "John Does" for infringement of Vuitton's rights by manufacture, advertising and sale of Vuitton knock offs. The Court granted Vuitton a temporary restraining order against a number of the defendants, finding a strong likelihood of success at trial by Vuitton and that immediate and irreparable harm would accrue to Vuitton without the TRO. Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. 1854louisvuitton.com, et al., 2012 WL 2576216, (D.Nev., July 3, 2012)
Now the loss. In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc., 2012 WL 2248593 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) a New York court ruled that Vuitton's reach had exceeded its grasp when it sued Warner Bros. for referring to a knock off in The Hangover II, even though Zack Galifianakis referred to it as a "Lewis" Vuitton and it was on the screen for less than 30 seconds. The Court found that the use in this case was protected by the first amendment and was unlikely to cause any confusion.
By the way, "malletier" is french for luggage maker. I had no idea.