image: Louis Vuitton

image: Louis Vuitton

If you shell out between $3,200 and $5,900 for Louis Vuitton’s entry-level suitcases (or upwards of $6,000 for hard-sided luggage), the Paris-based brand suspects that you might want to keep track of it. That is why Louis Vuitton has teamed up with Sigfox, the leading “Internet of things” service provider, to introduce what they are calling a “first-of-its-kind luggage tracking system” that adds Sigfox’s Monarch geolocation service and technology in the Louis Vuitton Horizon luggage range. The device, which will set you back $370 plus service fees, is called the Louis Vuitton Echo.

The brand’s new Echo tracker might, as Brand Channel so aptly notes, “appear to the casual observer to be a vaping device or a flash drive—albeit one branded with the Louis Vuitton logo.” In reality, however, the small tech gadget enables passengers to monitor their checked luggage in 115 (and counting) airports around the world.

As interesting as Louis Vuitton’s new foray into tech is, it is difficult not to wonder how exactly Amazon will react to it. The Portland-based internet giant introduced its own Echo device, which Engadget described upon its release in late 2014 as “a $199 speaker that caters to your Prime music, news and weather needs at the sound of your voice.”

“It’s kind of like having Siri, Google Now or Cortana stuffed into a diminutive household speaker,” the tech publication stated.

Among Amazon’s whole slew of Echo-related trademark registrations and pending applications for registration is one for the word Echo for use in connection with “providing information, news, and commentary in the field of travel.” That application, which was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in May 2017, is has been suspended following an initial refusal from the USPTO, which pointed to at least six existing trademark registrations that are potentially way too similar to Amazon’s proposed mark.

According to the USPTO, Amazon’s application for registration for the Echo mark that specifically applies to use in connection with “providing information, news, and commentary in the field of travel has been “suspended until [a number of] earlier-filed referenced application(s) are either registered or abandoned.”

That does not mean, though, that Amazon is out of luck. In accordance with trademark law in the U.S., rights are gained by use of a trademark and not by the issuing of a registration. It is also worth noting that while the “Echo” application is pending, Amazon does maintain registrations for “Amazon Echo,” which cover use in connection with “providing consumer information and related news in the field of technology, … and travel.”

As for what that means for Louis Vuitton, it is not entirely clear. One could certainly make an argument that Amazon has a trademark infringement claim on its hands and that, given consumers’ pre-existing familiarity with Amazon’s Echo, they might be duped into thinking the parties had worked together on this new tech project. Stay tuned.