- Posted by MatadorAdmin
- On August 17, 2017
Fashion giant Louis Vuitton continues to pursue its trademark infringement case against My Other Bag (also known as MOB). This case centers on whether MOB products can be considered as a parody of Louis Vuitton products, and whether the MOB bags can be seen to negatively affect the Paris-based Vuitton trademark.
My Other Bag is a small brand which has gained recognition for its canvas tote bags which are adorned with printed images of famous designer bags. The range features images of well-known signature bags by designers such as YSL, Celine, Balenciaga, and Proenza Schouler. The images are generally cartoony with subtle MOB branding; however the printed images are instantly recognizable to anyone who is familiar with fashionable handbags.
Louis Vuitton filed its initial infringement suit against MOB in June of 2014, after claiming that the MOB bags were diluting the famous Toile Monogram trademarks and Damier designs. Part of the suit also complained that the canvas bags were unfair competition to the luxury handbags which are produced by the Vuitton fashion house.
Before reaching the Supreme Court, the case had already passed through various different legal stages. MOB did not acquiesce to initial cease and desist letters which were sent by Louis Vuitton in 2013, and elected to continue to sell the Vuitton-inspired design. In January 2016, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the Southern District of New York Court found in favor of MOB. An appeal in December 2016 also found in favor of MOB, meaning that the company was allowed to continue making and selling its canvas bags.
The defense team for MOB had used the “parody defense” to argue against all infringement claims. They stated that the target audience for their canvas bags were unlikely to mistake their canvas bags with real Louis Vuitton products, and that their items would not be taken seriously in the luxury handbag market. The canvas bags were also judged to provide a social parody or commentary on the world of fashion.
For many legal and fashion commentators, the results of the initial case and the appeal were a surprise. Similar cases which had been filed in the same court district had been successful for the plaintiff and producers such as “Thursday Friday” had been stopped from producing “parody” canvas bags which bore a resemblance to the Birkin bag. However, in this particular infringement case, My Other Bag were able to argue that their company name helped to enhance the parody effect. The phrase “My Other Bag” was judged to imply that this bag is not designed to replace the products which are sold by Louis Vuitton.
The Supreme Court will now be asked to provide a final ruling on the question of whether MOB canvas bag products can be considered to be a parody of Louis Vuitton luxury handbags, or whether MOB has infringed on the trademarks which are held by Vuitton. Producers and the world of fashion are keeping a close eye on the outcome of the case.