Louis Vuitton loses court battle against Warner Brothers after judge finds use of knock-off bag in Hangover Part II 'funny'
Louis Vuitton has lost its lawsuit against the Warner Brothers studio for using a knock-off bag in the film The Hangover: Part II.
It turns out the judge on the case had more of a sense of humour than the luxury label, which sought financial damages after the hit comedy featured, and poked fun at, a fake Louis Vuitton bag.
Louis Vuitton claimed it was harmed by the misrepresentation, but U.S. District Judge, Andrew Carter, dismissed the allegations and defended the 'funny' scene, writing: 'It adds to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character.'
The scene: Louis Vuitton lost its case to Warner Bros for featuring a knock-off bag in this airport scene of Hanger II
The scene the judge is referring to is set at an airport, where the character Alan
Garner, played by Zach Galifianakis says 'Careful… that's a Louis Vuitton.'
The bag in question is actually manufactured by the Chinese American outfit Diophy, which distributes fake designer goods.
For comic effect, the word 'Louis' is also mispronounced as 'Lewis,' the quote becoming a hallmark catchphrase from the movie.
HANDBAGS AT DAWN: HOW LOUIS VUITTON FEATURED IN HANGOVER PART II
The four men enter the airport walking to Kayne Wests' song Stronger.
Alan is seen wearing the fake Louis Vuitton bag slung over his shoulder
The little brother of the
bride-to-be, Teddy, joins the four guys and asks Alan if he can sit down
next to him at the departure gate.
Alan says: 'Wolf-pack only, find another chair'
The groom, Stu, moves Alan's fake
bag off the chair next to him, while saying: 'There's no Wolf-pack Alan.
Teddy, you're sitting here.'
Alan shrieks: 'Careful! That is a Lewis Vuitton'
Louis Vuitton claimed the company was harmed by this statement in particular, however Judge Carter wrote: 'The likelihood of confusion [to viewers] is at best minimal'
He added thatit was unlikely that film-goers would have
noticed the bag, which was on screen for less than 30
seconds, was in fact a knock-off.
He also said that the audience would have thought Louis
Vuitton approved of Warner Brothers' use of the Diophy bag, and found
that film company should
not be held liable.
He wrote: 'Alan's terse remark to Teddy to '[be] [c]areful' because his bag 'is a Lewis Vuitton' comes across as snobbish only because the public signifies Louis Vuitton – to which the Diophy bag looks confusingly similar – with luxury and a high society lifestyle.
'His remark also comes across as funny because he mispronounces the French 'Louis' like the English 'Lewis,' and ironic because he cannot correctly pronounce the brand name of one of his expensive possessions, adding to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character,' he added.
'The court concludes that Louis Vuitton's allegations of confusion are
not plausible, let alone “particularly compelling,”' the judge wrote in
Theodore Max, a lawyer for Louis Vuitton, had no immediate
Warner Bros wins: Louis Vuitton claimed it was harmed by the bag's misrepresentation
According to the complaint, The Hangover: Part II had
grossed about $580million worldwide at the time the case was
brought, becoming the highest-grossing 'R' rated comedy ever.
Warner Brothers, part of Time Warner Inc, are sure to be happy with the outcome of the case, after it had to pay damages this year to tattoo artist, Victor Whitmill.
Mr Whitmill accused The Hangover: Part II of using of a replica tattoo he designed for Mike Tyson without his permission.
An Australian stunt man who sustained physical injuries while filming a botched car chase scene also filed a suit against Warner Bros, as did a screenwriter who claimed his ideas were stolen and used in the movie's script.
Despite Louis Vuitton's loss in the case, the luxury label has also
filed a suit against Diophy.
This year shares of LVMH, Louis Vuitton’s parent company, surged by $13.5 billion making chairman Bernard Arnault, the fourth-richest man on the Forbes Rich List.