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Louis Vuitton Mallatier S.A. v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-15-2012
Case #: 11 Civ. 9436
Carter
Full Text Opinion: http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cases/show.php?db=special&id=189

Trademarks: Trademark dilution was not found when consumers were unlikely to be confused under the Lantham Act standard.

Opinion (Carter): In 2011, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. (“Warner Bros.”) released “The Hangover: Part II,” (“the movie”) which, as of December 2011, was the highest grossing “R” rated movie of all time. In the film, there was a short scene in which a knockoff bag bearing a monogram that resembled a bag produced by Louis Vuitton Mallatier S.A. (“LVM”) was used. It was misidentified through mispronunciation by the character Alan as a “Lewis Vuitton” bag. The makers of the original bag, LVM, filed suit against Warner Bros. under New York state law for trademark dilution, which employed the same criteria as the Lantham Act. The court applied the Rogers factors and found that Warner Bros.’ use of a bag with a monogram design potentially resembling an LVM product, affirmatively misstated by a fictional character in a fictional movie, and did not exceed the low standard for artistic relevance; nor was the use of the bag in the movie explicitly misleading. The court pointed out that LVM did not claim that Warner Bros.’ use of the bag could create confusion that LVM endorsed the movie, which was the only type of confusion that could trump the Rogers protection. The court determined that consumers were unlikely to be confused. Accordingly, Warner Bros.’ motion to dismiss was GRANTED.