The Fashion Law Exclusive - Louis Vuitton has not lost its protective edge. The Paris-based design house's U.S. legal team (with the help of outside counsel) has filed suit to protect its world-famous trademark against Sunny Merchandise Corp, Louis Valentin Eyewear, and Chin Zong Tsai. Turns out, Sunny Merchandise has a federally registered trademark, "LOUIS V," that covers eyewear and sunglasses. The California-based company filed its registration in 2009 and was granted federal registration in May 2010. However, Louis Vuitton, which also has a federally registered mark for glasses, sees the similarly-named brand (whose glasses retail for about $20) operating in a manner that aims to profit from Louis Vuitton's established appeal (and we don't blame them - the "Louis V" name is too similar and Louis Vuitton is too famous for this to be a coincidence). As a result, LV filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Friday.
The iconic design house, lead by Marc Jacobs, has an array of federally registered trademarks of its own in the U.S. The Louis Vuitton trademark extends to eyewear thanks to a 2004 registration for "spectacles, eyeglasses." The famous Toile Monogram mark (including the LV initials) was federally registered in August 2012, and this covers everything from clothing to jewelry, luggage, cosmetics, and eyewear. One of the brand's earliest marks, registered in late 2004, covers goods made of precious metals, alloys, or coated - this also may help Louis Vuitton's case here, depending on whether its glasses contain such materials. Considering that retail for upwards of $800, there is a good chance, precious metals are used.
As for how Sunny Merchandise and Louis Valentin was able to register its "Louis V" at all without a fight from LV is a bit puzzling, but considering the size of LVMH and its extensive resources, we likely won't have any judicial guidance in this case. It is probably only a matter of time before the parties settle (if Sunny Merchandise knows what's good for them), because no one really wants to go up against LVMH in court.