SW Legal studies in Business

Parody of Famous Mark Allowed
Description Appeals court held that the maker of a dog chew toy that was a parody of expensive handbags make by Louis Vuitton did not infringe or dilute the original mark. Such parody is fair use.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Trademark; Infringement; Dilution; Lanham Act; Confusion; Parody
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Louis Vuitton makes expensive luggage, handbags, and accessories. It sued Haute Diggity Dog for making chew toys for dogs, including small handbags called “Chewy Vuiton.” Vuitton sued for trademark infringement and trademark dilution in violation of the Lanham Act and the Trademark Dilution Revision Act. The district court held for Haute Diggity Dog; Vuitton appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. Chewy Vuiton was a successful parody of the Vuitton marks and trade dress. The toy was obviously irreverent and an intentional representation of the handbag, but there was no doubt that it was not an image of the mark created by the maker. To be a parody, for trademark purposes, the product must convey that it is the original but also that it is not the original, it is only a parody for amusement. There would be no confusion between genuine products and the chew toys. The Vuitton mark is strong; no one would think it was being used on the dog toys, so it does not violate the Lanham Act. Similarly, under the Trademark Dilution Revision Act, fair use by parody is allowed since it does not impair the distinctiveness of the famous mark.

Citation Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Haute Diggity Dog, LLC, 507 F.3d 252 (4th Cir., 2007)

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