GOOD HUMOR: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has lost its legal fight against spoof tote bag company My Other Bag. On Wednesday, Judge Jesse M. Furman of New York State’s southern district struck down the luxury conglomerate’s formal allegations of trademark dilution, violation of fair use, dilution by blurring, trademark infringement and copyright infringement. The firm first filed these claims against My Other Bag in 2014.
My Other Bag’s products are known parody handbag designs by LVMH labels, including Céline and Louis Vuitton — the illustrated, caricature-type likeness of which are superimposed onto cotton tote bags and pouches.
In his conclusion, which ruled in the defendant’s favor, Furman said: “Louis Vuitton is, by its own description, an ‘active and aggressive’ enforcer of its trademark rights. In some cases, however, it is better to ‘accept the implied compliment in [a] parody’ and to smile or laugh than it is to sue.
“MOB’s use of Louis Vuitton’s marks in service of what is an obvious attempt at humor is not likely to cause confusion or the blurring of the distinctiveness of Louis Vuitton’s marks; if anything, it is likely only to reinforce and enhance the distinctiveness and notoriety of the famous brand.”
Regarding Wednesday’s ruling, My Other Bag founder and chief executive officer Tara Martin said the victory was “not only for the My Other Bag brand, but for other entrepreneurs, writers, artists, filmmakers, designers, anyone who uses their creativity and voice to make a statement.
“Parody is one of the oldest and most beloved ways in our culture to address social, economic and political issues. One of America’s founding, and to me most important, principles is freedom of speech and it must be protected and fought for.”
Martin launched My Other bag in 2012.