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...

Filed Under: art, commentary, culture, japan, mythbusters, trademarks
Companies: louis vuitton

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  1. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 30 Jun 2010 @ 10:02am

    Re: Mythbusters is careful

    They're very careful yes.

    Though there may be a couple of other reasons.

    1) The Leather Cannon didn't work.
    2) Mythbusters tends to blow things up at the end of an episode and they might carry that over to the end of a lawsuit! :-)

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