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LVMH Files Trademark Suit

Louis Vuitton Malletier has filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and counterfeiting against Fashion Express Inc. and Canada’s Aldo Group.

NEW YORK — The Louis Vuitton Malletier division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement and counterfeiting against Fashion Express Inc. and Canada’s Aldo Group.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court last week, alleges infringement of LVMH’s new Louis Vuitton Murakami Toile Monogram trademarks, which populated runways on handbags first shown in October 2002 during the Louis Vuitton spring 2003 fashion show in Paris. The new designs, in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, feature four collections of multicolored patterns and styles of handbag and accessories designs, including the now-famous Monogram Cherry Blossom pattern, featured in the Cherry Blossom Accessories Pouch, and the Monogram Multicolore, an avant-garde version of the famous Louis Vuitton Toile Monogram in 33 colors.

Also named in the suit were Marshall Gold, Fashion’s president; the U.S. operation of Aldo, Aldo U.S., and 10 “John Does.” Gold did not return calls for comment. Executives at Aldo could not be reached for comment.

A hearing has been set for Oct. 21 regarding LVMH’s request for a preliminary injunction. Meanwhile, LVMH last Thursday evening obtained a temporary restraining order barring the defendants from selling the handbags or any other action that would infringe upon LVMH’s trademark rights pending the Oct. 21 hearing, according to court records.

The lawsuit said that so far, more than 23,000 Louis Vuitton Murakami handbags have been sold in the U.S., with a retail value at nearly $12 million, since their introduction in 90 Louis Vuitton stores and in-store boutiques at stores such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. More than 12,000 Monogram Cherry Blossom bags have been sold in the U.S., with a value in excess of $6 million, while more than 2,500 Multicolore-patterned accessories bags have been sold for more than $1 million in the U.S.

LVMH also is seeking a permanent injunction barring the sale of the infringing bags, an accounting of profits and unspecified actual damages and punitive damages.

This story first appeared in the August 12, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.