Tag Archives: Louis Vuitton

They’ll always have Paris: Vuitton sues eBay

Originally posted 2007-01-22 00:11:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

They did the deed, or filed le writ, in France, where their chances of success — based on the last few years of pro-mark-owner decisions, plus the creeping incoherence of U.S. jurisprudence on trademark use on the Internet — are far better. We’ve thought about this topic before (PDF), if I haven’t mentioned that lately, and as skeptical as I am of the use of trademark law as a way to control distribution channels, I believe this is a cause of action that can fly — mainly because the big stinker in online auctions of luxury goods is that most of them are counterfeits.

“Too big a market to police,” cries eBay — I’ve been in the room when they’ve said this. Ah, yes, perhaps — but not at those profit margins (link added January 23rd). He who creates the problem, and profits from the problem, and controls the technology that perpetuates the problem, is the one who should bear the cost of solving the problem.

UPDATE:  Vuitton wins, eBay not so much.

Who is Malletier?

Jack Russell MalletierIn 2009 I did a post whose title — “Excuse Me While I Kiss this Guy” — was an homage to the great modern institution of mangled popular song lyrics.  That particular neurological “take” on Jimi Hendrix’s wailed request in “Purple Haze” is so prevalent that an entire website dedicated to misheard song lyrics is actually called “Kiss This Guy,” and beat me to the punch by three years.  Who knew?

Knowing, it seems, is the key.  That “kiss this guy” mistake is probably based as much on the cognitive dissonance implicated in the brain’s processing of the real lyric, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky,” as any failure to enunciate by the late, great stoned Englishman Hendrix.  “Kiss the sky” is just not in our neural “type-ahead” cache, and while you might not think “kiss this guy” actually is, well, turns out it is.  Oddly enough.

Same thing with names.  Pattern recognition and familiarity are all.  Everyone, after all, knows what “a Louis Vuitton” is, and wants one — real or not. The result has been years of fun and, for many of those I love, profit.

Louis Vuitton Malletier, Plaintiff Even I had my moments on that score, and when, as a much younger man, I was tasked to hop on an Amtrak and sue a trademark counterfeiter on LVMH’s behalf in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, I was happy to do it.  (The “LV” is for Louis Vuitton; the M is not for Malletier, in fact — the “MH” is for Moët Hennessy.  Together, they’re a “group.”)  The resulting decision, Malletier v. Veit, was kind of important for about ten minutes.

But who is that plaintiff?  Who is this Malletier guy?

The plaintiff in my case, of course — and in Malletier v. Dooney & Bourke, and a whole bunch of other cases — was not a guy named Louis V. Malletier.  Of course.  You knew that.  It is, rather, the firm called Louis Vuitton Malletier — and as you also knew, a “malletier is, in French, literally a trunk-maker, or manufacturer of luggage and suitcases.”  It comes from the French word malle, which means trunk but related, as is readily evident, to the word “mallet” for hammer.

But, of course: Louie the Trunk-Maker. Read More…

Don’t mess with Louis

Mohammed Sharif, with his inimitable excitement about the whole thing, posts on his Fame Appeal blog about —

An evening at Louis Vuitton headquarters in NYC, [at which]  Michael Pantalony Esq., protector of Intellectual Property of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey Fashion Group (LVMH) stated “If you come close to copying the (Louis Vuitton) Mark you will hear from LV”

Pantalony was the keynote speaker the a CLE program held by the Fordham Fashion Law Institute, as it turns out, which I would have certainly been interested in attending if I’d known about it.  But that is blocks away from here.

Anyway, I can vouch for the sentiments:  Sooner or later you will, indeed, hear from LV — one company that has bona fide infringement problems and, from what I can tell, does not push the envelope unreasonably.  Indeed, if anything, LV counterfeiting is so ubiquitous that its enforcement program stands for the proposition that all the law in the world and all the lawyers — and good ones — can’t solve certain legal problems.

My point being, that doesn’t mean still more law, or lawyering, will do so.  To the contrary, what do they say about someone who keeps doing something over and over again and expecting different results?

That does not mean I do have a solution for LV’s problems.  I don’t.  And I have tried.

Home cookin’ a la mode, with a most undeserving dessert

Originally posted 2008-07-01 02:15:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

From the WSJ Law Blog:

A French court today cracked down on counterfeits — and an outlet that sells them — ordering eBay to pay Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands — Kenzo, Guerlain, Dior and Givenchy — $63.1 million in damages for auctioning fake goods. Here’s the early story from WSJ. . . .

“I was really surprised by the number,” J. Michael Huget, the head of IP at Butzel Long, told the Law Blog. “There’s definitely a hometown flavor to it. I don’t know how you get there on a disgorgement of profit basis, unless there’s some unique penalty provision that exists under French law. But even with that, it’s not like it’s a company that’s gone over there and hurt people. You don’t want to discount the value of a brand, but that’d be a huge number even in our system.”

Well, unless there’s some, like, Frenchie legal reason for it, yeah? I’d run that down. Genuine expertise demonstrated by Butzel Long, and crack reporting there by the WSJ! I blame the reporter more than I do Michael Huget. Wouldn’t want to have to dial another number and risk finding out that law part.

On the other hand… “it’s not like it’s a company that’s gone over there and hurt people”? Oh, is that the test, then, given what we… know? … about French law? Remember, Michael, what our teeny dollars look like to Europeans!

Oh, all right. It does sound like a huge number. Yet on the other hand — hometown-wise, frankly I couldn’t blame the French (yes, I did just write that) for getting the impression that there’s only one way to get eBay’s attention?

Having said all that — this is actually really troubling:

As for perfumer-plaintiffs Kenzo, Guerlain, Dior and Givenchy, the judge ruled that, even though the perfumes sold by eBay were legitimate, the company was liable for unauthorized sales. LVMH strictly limits their distribution to authorized dealers such as perfume chains and department stores.

Oh no. No!!!!!!  Now what do I do?!

(Jaunty beret-tip to Marty.)