Remember the Sony BMG case from last year- where Louis Vuitton sued for unauthorized use of their trademark? Well, it looks like the case was settled for an undisclosed sum. Rumors put it at $240,000 and $155,830 for both cases.
It was over quite a few issues, including the Britney Spears video “Do Somethin'”, pictured above, where she’s driving the Pink Hummer with fakey cherry blossom interior, Ruben Studdard’s Louis Vuitton monogramed cover for his “The Return” CD, and a video of Da Brat’s where there are just a bunch of different LV pieces pictured that Louis Vuitton never did (beach umbrella? Multicolore Beach Ball? etc. etc.)
This comment from Crains made total sense to me:
“Sony’s case against Louis Vuitton was likely damaged by the fact that the artists did not use genuine LVMH products in the infractions, said Peter Sloane, an attorney at Ostrolenk Faber LLP who specializes in trademarks and copyrights. In the case of Ms. Spears, Louis Vuitton does not make dashboard covers or even sell reams of logo fabric that could be fashioned as such.”
I mean, this is just true. I’ve seen album covers with authentic Louis Vuitton luggage on it (Dwight Yoakam anyone) and music videos that include authentic Louis Vuitton pieces in them (numerous including Fergie’s classic, My Humps). I mean, Kanye West declared himself the Louis Vuitton Don- and LVMH’s response? He’s now designing a footware line for Louis Vuitton, sits front row at LV fashion shows & is paid big bucks to play for their parties. Even Louis Vuitton likes the right kind of exposure. The real key is, at the very least- the items have to be authentic.
Part of the terms of the settlement are that Ruben’s CD’s are pulled- and that Britney and Da Brat’s videos are no longer distributed. I mean, it’s too bad, but I really can not believe that these people have professional managers and advisors, and none of were told that this would be wrong.
I love the little note at the bottom of this New Yorker Magazine article that says,
“In fact, according to our calculations, with the total winnings minus the Studdard bonus, the company can buy itself, why, 130 airport rolling bags!” (The Louis Vuitton retails at between about $1900 and $2995)
But it clearly wasn’t about the money. Another part of the settlement required the parties to admit they were wrong, and to refrain from violating Louis Vuitton’s intellectual property rights.
“Nathalie Moulle-Berteaux, Intellectual Property Director of Louis Vuitton said, ‘We are very pleased to have successfully resolved these matters in a manner that protects our brand and our customers. We believe the terms of this agreement will provide strong protection to our brand worldwide, and we are gratified that Sony BMG has agreed to educate its record labels about our trademarks and copyrights in order to prevent the misuse of our intellectual property in the future.'”