Louis Vuitton Strikes Again: Shuts Down Art Exhibit That Commented On LV Trademarks

from the parody? dept

Earlier this year, you may recall that we wrote about a bizarre and ridiculous lawsuit that luxury goods retailer Louis Vuitton had filed against Hyundai, because for a couple of seconds in a Hyundai commercial, a basketball is seen with markings that sorta kinda mimic (though, not exactly) LV’s handbag design. This is the same Louis Vuitton that had sued a fundraiser who had made t-shirts to raise money for Darfur, which included an illustration of a “pimped out” Darfur victim who was holding a bag that also mimicked LV’s designs.

I was reminded of both of these cases recently when I was catching up on recent episodes of the TV show Mythbusters. In one episode, the myth being tested is whether or not you can build a cannon out of leather. In the final attempt, Mythbuster Kari Byron decides to “decorate” the cannon, and does so with symbols that, again, mimic the LV design, turning it into a “designer cannon.” Unfortunately, it looks like Discovery doesn’t let you embed clips (why, Discovery, why?), but here’s a quick screen shot that I took:

All I could think of was whether or not (a) Mythbusters/Discovery had cleared that and gotten a license from LVMH or (b) if LVMH was going to sue. I have no idea if anything has happened there, but you can rest assured that LVMH is busy on the legal front elsewhere.

ChurchHatesTucker points us to the news that LVMH has shut down an art exhibit in Japan that involved sculptures of nine locusts, that were each made from counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags:

The sculptures were clearly meant to act as commentary on the nature of luxury brands and counterfeiting, as they were named Batta Mon, which the article linked above says is:

a play on the words batta (“locust”) and battamon (slang for “knockoff”). According to the artist, the works are meant to raise questions about the relationship between authenticity and imitation in a consumer-driven society.

It seems like that’s a perfectly good subject for commentary through art, and it seems ridiculous that LVMH is stifling the artist’s work. Nothing in this exhibit is going to make anyone think that it was endorsed by LVMH. It certainly isn’t doing anything to create consumer confusion. The artist is pissed off, but the museum said it didn’t want to deal with a legal fight, so this artist’s work gets taken down as yet another company abuses trademark law. Watch out, Mythbusters, you may be next…

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Companies: louis vuitton

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Comments on “Louis Vuitton Strikes Again: Shuts Down Art Exhibit That Commented On LV Trademarks”

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16 Comments
kyle clements (profile) says:

This is extremely shocking to me.

Typically, putting something under the umbrella of “Art” keeps you safe from these sorts of things.

some examples: I once attended an art exhibit with computers and CD burners on display, where people were invited to download mp3s, burn them to disk, and take the CDs with them. The show was intended to be a commentary on how people consume music in the digital era.

Another example: An artist placed a pile of cocaine in the middle of the gallery, and for the duration of the show, he sat in a corner, blindfolded. people were only allowed to enter one at a time, and if they so wished, they could snort some. I think the show was supposed to be saying something about self-control and surveillance, but I did not attend this show, I only read about it after the fact.

And these shows both went off without a hitch. Under the umbrella of art, these activities were not a problem. The show must go on.

So…snorting coke in a gallery is fine, but using some Louis Vuitton logos in your art is a show stopper.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Sounds like their lawyers need a major beat-down.

What a ludicrous bunch of schmucks their lawyers are, and the only way to deal with lawyers who abuse the legal system is to use extra-legal measures, like beating them to a bloody pulp, and possibly maiming them for life in the process. It’s just so much more viscerally satisfying than something like counter-suing them. And, they may take a lesson from it, but I doubt that.

But, as always, there simply is no justice in this world, because the lawyers have rendered the term obsolete. If someone were to unceremoniously beat the living crap out of one of these parasitic turds, I would be happy to contribute to their legal defense, assuming, of course that they actually ever get caught. No guarantees of that, is there? Lawyer whacking goes on all the time, sometimes right in the courtroom. I have no problem with that if they deserve it, which most of them truly do.

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