Bags from the collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami from spring 2003.
Louis Vuitton wants to take its claims of trademark infringement against My Other Bag all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but convincing the justices that a caricature of an iconic bag is a matter of national importance isn't a sure thing.The French luxury house formally petitioned the high court late last week, asking the nine active justices to train their precedent-setting eyes on a December ruling by the Second Circuit, which rejected Louis Vuitton’s claim that a screen-printed image of its monogram tote showing up on a canvas bag went beyond parody and diluted its trademarked images and designs.A federal New York court also sided with My Other Bag early last year, rejecting all of Louis Vuitton's claims, characterizing the totes as “an obvious attempt at humor.”Under U.S. trademark law, reproduction of registered marks is allowed in the form of a parody, generally so long as the product doesn’t create “consumer confusion” as to its origin, but there is no hard and fast definition in the law as to what counts as parody and what crosses the line of infringement. A big issue for courts is often the First Amendment, and to what level the parody constitutes freedom of speech. In the eyes of Louis Vuitton, My Other Bag’s totes are not being used “for expressive purposes,” but instead “to free-ride” on its famous marks. The company told the high court that the Second Circuit decided My Other Bag was partaking in parody without responding to either of these elements, creating “an expansive approach to parody that seriously undermines [the Trademark Dilution Revision Act's] overriding objective of safeguarding famous marks against dilution.”[caption id="attachment_10950147" align="aligncenter" width="597"] Louis Vuitton's popular monogrammed Speedy tote (left) and My Other Bag's spoof tote.[/caption]This in turn has muddled theapplication of trademark law, meaning the Supreme Court’s “intervention is urgently needed” in order to “restore uniformity,” Louis Vuitton said.That could be a reach. “I’d be shocked if the court took it up,” said Jed Ferdinand, a longtime intellectual property lawyer who operates his namesake firm. “I sympathize with [Louis Vuitton], but I completely agree from an objective standpoint with the courts that have considered this case and rejected its argument. The appeals court really made short shrift of it.”Ferdinand also noted that the case doesn’t appear to rise to the level of national importance, a standard for any case the Supreme Court decides to take up, and considering the court already takes less than 1 percent of the cases it's petitioned to look at, it doesn’t bode well for Louis Vuitton’s chances.“I think this is a case where Louis Vuitton didn’t like the outcome, but I’m not surprised they’re trying to take it all the way,” Ferdinand said. “If you're Louis Vuitton you want to send a message that you're policing the market and there's a certain deterrent value for aggressive enforcement. Maybe it’ll stop somebody else.”He referenced the legal fee My Other Bag has undoubtedly racked up in defending this case as deterrent enough for plenty of companies and brands, but also noted the importance of Louis Vuitton’s aggressive stance in protecting such a popular luxury brand. However, Christopher Buccafusco, a professor and director of the intellectual property program at Cardozo Law School in New York, said Louis Vuitton just might get (another) day in court.He said the court might be signaling that it wants to take a closer look at the dilution element of trademark law and pointed to several recent rulings, including Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, in which it decided certain elements of apparel can be protected through copyright, and Matal v. Tam, in which it decided an Asian-American band called “The Slants” could trademark the name despite government regulations around “offensive” names. But even if that turns out to be the case, Buccafusco isn’t exactly expecting a win for Louis Vuitton.“In dilution cases like this one, the reason for limiting the defendant’s speech isn’t really to protect consumers, but to protect the mark owner’s ‘brand,’” Buccafusco said. “It’s not clear to many people that the potential risks to companies like Louis Vuitton are substantial enough to justify trademark law’s restriction on speech. So, if the court continues to be careful about the relationship between trademark law and speech, it might want to reaffirm those principles here.”For More, See:Adidas Sues Forever 21 for Using Stripe Design — AgainLululemon Sues Under Armour Over Sports Bra DesignPuma Still Fighting Forever 21 Sale of Alleged Rihanna Knock-offs
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)