Louis Vuitton is one of the most popular and valuable brands on the planet. In the world of luxury goods, they reign supreme. They also go to extreme limits to protect the value of their products. Louis Vuitton does not put any product “on sale” and they are the exclusive manufacturer, distributor, and seller of their product. All of the unwanted and “last season” products get burned. It is the reason that they can get buyers to spend thousands of dollars to get their hands on the lavish LV logo.
Needless to say, Louis Vuitton will go to extreme lengths to protect their intellectual property. Recently, the company My Other Bag has been screen-printing Louis Vuitton and other luxury good manufacturer’s trademarks onto their own bags. Accordingly, Louis Vuitton brought a lawsuit against the company for copyright infringement.
My Other Bag argued that their bags portraying some of the most famous trademarks in fashion fell under parody law. The parody test, as outlined by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, is a 2-part inquiry. It must first be proven that it is the original but it must also be proven that it is NOT in fact the original, and thus a parody.
Here, the court held that My Other Bag did, in fact, use Louis Vuitton trademarks but did so in a way that “joke[d] on LV’s luxury image” and thus falls under the parody law protections.
Accordingly, Louis Vuitton promptly filed an appeal, noting that the Court of Appeals failed to apply the relevant precedent. The Supreme Court then denied to hear an appeal of the prior decision, ending the current legal battle.
Louis Vuitton Malletier v. My Other Bag, 17-72