Luxury bag manufacturer Louis Vuitton has lost its lawsuit in America against Warner Brothers for their use of a fake Louis Vuitton bag in their film The Hangover: Part II.
In fact, US District Judge, Andrew Carter went so far as to say that the use of the fake was “funny”, writing in his judgement that “it adds to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character.”
And in reply to Louis Vuitton’s claim that the company had been harmed by the character’s pronunciation of Louis as ‘Lewis’ throughout the film, the Judge wrote: “the likelihood of confusion (to viewers) is at best minimal,” adding that most people probably wouldn’t even notice that the bag, on screen for less than 30 seconds, was a “knock-off”.
The bag used in the film was actually made by Chinese manufacturer Diophy, against which Vuitton brought an action before the U.S. International Trade Commission, a body with the power to ban the import of infringing items.
Louis Vuitton does authorise product placement in movies, but only with its permission and only with genuine products, according to court papers. Warner Brothers was accused of stepping outside the general practice in the industry of clearing the use of a branded product with the brand owner.
In addition to seeking an order barring the advertising, promotion and distribution of the film containing any scenes with the allegedly infringing bag, Louis Vuitton had asked the court to order the destruction of all copies of the film that contain images of the counterfeit bag and represent it as a genuine Louis Vuitton product.
However, in his summary, the judge wrote: “The court concludes that Louis Vuitton’s allegations of confusion are not plausible, let alone ‘particularly compelling.”
Louis Vuitton has also filed a suit against Diophy, which has yet to be heard.