I suppose you’ve already heard about the epic lawsuit that Louis Vuitton slapped Warner Bros., the makers of The Hangover Part II, with, that too right before Christmas (22nd Dec, 2011, exactly ‒ talk about being the Grinch!). No? Alright then, I’ve got the entire scoop on this comedy gold of a legal scuffle, for you :-)
“Careful, that is… that is a Lewis Vuitton.” ‒ Remember this line from Hangover-2, that Alan (played by Zach Galifianakis) mouths out to Stu (played by Ed Helms) at the airport? It was quite funny, right? But those po-faced ones over at LVMH headquarters failed to get the humour of this scene. Of course, they didn’t take too kindly to the mispronunciation: they claim it may cause “consumer confusion.” But what got them really, really, really worked up is the piece of luggage itself, which is clearly a fake (it bears the “LVM” monogram instead of the “LV” found on originals). That is, they have gripe about the film’s use of its trademark, and the characterization of the knockoff ‒ manufactured by Diophy group of companies, which is also being sued, before the International Trade Commission, to prevent them selling their goods in the US ‒ as a real one. According to the suit, WB’s “explicitly misleading the public about the source of the Diophy Bag” and undermining LV’s efforts to stamp out counterfeits of its products.
Apparently, LV objected to WB after the film’s release to remove that offending footage but it fell on deaf ears. When DVDs came out containing THAT scene, LV (must have) thought, “That’s it! Enough is enough.” And filed a lawsuit they did! They’re seeking profits from the film ‒ which raked in $580 million ‒ and triple damages, along with an injunction to prevent copies of the film containing the airport scene from being distributed. Pretty ambitious, methinks.
Isn’t it a massive sense-of-humour failure from LV’s part? It’s a film shot in Thailand, a haven for knock-offs, for crying out loud. Is Alan the sort to tote around a fake LV bag? Ha! No way. We don’t think so. Isn’t it the joke that Alan, while so protective of his luggage, can’t even pronounce the brand name? Doesn’t it seem very much in keeping with the screwball character development that idiotic Alan would invest in what turns out to be a suite of counterfeit designer luggage? And moreover, don’t the clever folks at LVMH know that they are giving even more exposure to a relatively forgettable scene from the film? Agree with me, anyone?