NEW YORK — Score one for Dooney & Bourke, at least for now.
Emulating certain design features doesn’t constitute trademark infringement when it involves different trademarks or logos, according to a Manhattan federal district court judge who issued a ruling denying a request for a preliminary injunction by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton against Dooney & Bourke.
The controversy centered on LVMH’s famed Murakami designs, featuring the LVMH Toile monogram trademarks on multicolored patterns and styles for handbags and accessories.
The ruling affects only LVMH’s request for a preliminary injunction and has no effect on the lawsuit filed by LVMH, which still has to be tried on its merits.
“This ruling is upsetting. I spent considerable time with Takashi Murakami creating the Monogram Multicolore for Louis Vuitton. To allow someone to simply copy and profit from our creativity is frustrating and can discourage this kind of innovation in others,” said Marc Jacobs, artistic director for Louis Vuitton.
In the Dooney lawsuit, LVMH charged that the company had “knocked off” its Murakami designs using similarly colored overlapping monogram initials on both white and black backgrounds. But Dooney also used its own trademarked initials.
Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in her decision, “This emulation of the certain features of the Louis Vuitton bags, however, does not reflect Dooney & Bourke’s intention to deceive customers into concluding that the product derives from Louis Vuitton.”
The judge went on to note, “Louis Vuitton created a new look and now seeks to preclude others from following its lead. If Louis Vuitton succeeds, then it will have used the law to achieve an unwarranted anticompetitive result.”
She pointedly noted that LVMH had been unable to present “any evidence” that the Dooney bag created confusion among consumers. She also reasoned that granting LVMH a monopoly over all multicolored repeating monograms set against a black or white background would contravene one of the objectives of trademark law, which is “not to harm competition.”
“We always felt that the claims by Vuitton lacked merit. The bags are not the same. None of the elements on the LVMH bags are on the Dooney & Bourke bags,” said Thomas J. McAndrew, attorney for Dooney.“We disagree strongly with the ruling on our preliminary injunction motion. Moreover, we find it puzzling that the court reached this conclusion while at the same time noting the obvious similarities between our distinctive trademark and our competitor’s, and that ‘it could reasonably be inferred that Dooney & Bourke intentionally copied’ our world-renowned trademark and ‘intended to “ride on the coattails” of Louis Vuitton,’” a spokeswoman for LVMH said. She added that LVMH “will immediately appeal” the ruling.
The latest ruling isn’t the first that LVMH has lost. In May, a Manhattan federal district court denied a preliminary injunction request by LVMH against Burlington Coat Factory. That lawsuit sought to bar Burlington from selling a line of beaded handbags featuring an “NY” monogram. LVMH is also appealing the ruling in the Burlington case. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay of the dissolution of the injunction, preventing Burlington from selling the beaded bags until a final decision is rendered on the appeal.
— With contributions from Ross Tucker and Emily Holt
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)