The Shady Side of Fashion Trademarks: LVMH v Live Eyewear
Exploring the below board activities of the world’s fashion superpowers and the power of small business trademark.
The company Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) and their subsidiaries, most of which are the superpowers of the fashion industry, are on the receiving end of a trademark infringement suit started by Live Eyewear, Inc (‘Live Eyewear’). The subsidiaries of LVMH include Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Christian Dior SE, Hennessy, Givenchy, Fendi, Kenzo, TAG Heuer, Celine, Veuve Clicquot, Benefit Cosmetics and DKNY.
The subsidiaries under fire in this suit include Celine, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Live eyewear claims that LVMH, Celine and Dior have sold at least four products whose styles fail to differ from that of Live Eyewear’s SOFT TOUCH design and trademark. LVMH and Celine are also under fire due to selling glasses of an extremely similar model to Live Eyewear’s “Cocoon” oversized eyewear. Live eyewear claims that Celine has failed to distinguish their oversized eyewear design from Live’s “COCOONS” model.
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Brand Profile: Live Eyewear
Live Eyewear have had trademark protection in the United States since 2003 for their ‘COCOONS’ design and since 2009 for their ‘SOFT TOUCH’ design. Live eyewear’s unique product targets a niche market, like other smaller brands in the highly competitive fashion industry, they are exposed to the threats of their product designs falling into the hands of larger fashion houses and brands.
This case clearly highlights the vital importance of design protection and seeking guidance from a IP attorney in order to protect the scholarship and authenticity of your creative ideas.
Live Eyewear’s products feature a rubberised finish on the eyeglass frames, spectacle frames, sunglass frames, and clip-on sunglass chassis that provides corrosion resistant seal and a velvet like surface. According to the plaintiff Live Eyewear, LVMH and their subsidiaries have sold and failed to distinguish the differences between 4 or possibly 5 of their products and Live Eyewear’s products.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff told the court that LVMH and their subsidiaries were “offering for sale, distributing, marketing, and/or selling eyewear” that allegedly infringe two of Live Eyewear’s federally registered trademarks. As well as claims of trademark infringement, the plaintiff has also made claims of trademark dilution and unfair competition by LVMH, Celine and Dior. The plaintiff is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages, which have not yet been specified.
It will be interesting to see how the case plays out. The result and magnitude of this case could set a precedent for the future of high fashion vs small business, as well as shape the future of authentic scholarship in the fashion industry.
Let us know your thoughts on this battle of the fashion trademark by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.
Oscar is a Paralegal, working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources.