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LV verliest zaak over nep LVM-tas in Hangover II



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In de luchthavenscene van de film Hangover Part II, draagt de hoofdrolspeler ‘Alan’  gespeeld door Zach Galifianakis, een LVM-tas. Wanneer hij een duw krijgt van Teddy, roept hij “Careful… that’s a Lewis Vuitton!” De tas in de film is alleen een nep Louis Vuitton-tas ( Diophy bag), en zegt hij “Lewis” in plaats van “Louis”.

Louis Vuitton startte een procedure tegen de filmproducent Warner Bros, omdat zij meende dat men zou denken dat het een echte LV-tas zou gaan. Ofwel er zou sprake kunnen zijn van verwarring bij het (film)publiek en het publiek zou kunnen menen dat LV het gebruik van deze neptas had goedgekeurd. Dit mede, omdat de scene vaak in commercials ten behoeve van de film was gebruikt en daardoor de “Lewis Vuitton-line has become an oft-repeated and hallmark quote from the movie”.

De rechter Carter Jr. honoreerde LV’s merkenrechterlijke claims echter niet. Er zou geen sprake zijn van verwarringsgevaar, noch zou het publiek menen dat LV het gebruik van de neptas had goedgekeurd. Uiteindelijk prevaleert het grondwettelijke recht van vrijheid van meningsuiting (public's right to free expression”).

 Alan’s terse remark to Teddy to ‘[be] [c]areful’ because his bag ‘is a Lewis Vuitton’ comes across as snobbish only because the public signifies Louis Vuitton — to which the Diophy bag looks confusingly similar — with luxury and a high society lifestyle. His remark also comes across as funny because he mispronounces the French ‘Louis’ like the English ‘Lewis,’ and ironic because he cannot correctly pronounce the brand name of one of his expensive possessions, adding to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character. This scene also introduces the comedic tension between Alan and Teddy that appears throughout the Film.”

 "Here, there is no likelihood of confusion that viewers would believe that the Diophy bag is a real Louis Vuitton bag just because a fictional character made this claim in the context of a fictional movie," the order states. "Neither is there a likelihood of confusion that this statement would cause viewers to believe that Louis Vuitton approved of Warner Bros.' use of the Diophy bag. In a case such as this one, no amount of discovery will tilt the scales in favor of the mark holder at the expense of the public's right to free expression." 

Lees hier het vonnis.



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