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Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal revealed this week that LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, has lost a legal challenge against a company that sells dog toys with mock versions of LVMH logos.
A federal judge in Virginia rejected claims by LVMH’s Louis Vuitton Malletier unit that the name ‘Chewy Vuiton’ used for the toys breached copyright and trademark rights. The products also used an interlocking CV logo that imitated LVMH’s famous LV trademark.
Haute Diggity Dog LLC, a Las Vegas-based company, makes stuffed toys and beds for dogs under parody brand names, such as Dog Perignon, Sniffany & Co and Chewnel #5.
The products are “similar enough for the average consumer to recognise a humorous association with the Vuitton mark, without likely confusing that same consumer,” Judge James C. Cacheris in Alexandria, Virginia ruled. The similarities “are necessary as part of the parody, for without them, no parody exists”.
The court said that confusing the products was unlikely also because of the difference in quality. Vuitton’s few pet products, including collars and leashes, sell for as much as US$1,600. Haute Diggity Dog’s line of toys and beds, priced at an average of US$20, are “made for pets to destroy or sleep upon”.