A South Korean court has ordered a restaurant owner to pay 14.5 million won ($12,500) in damages for refusing to comply with a court order prohibiting him from using the Louis Vuitton name in connection with his restaurant. The owner, who has been only identified by the press by his surname, Kim, operates a fried chicken restaurant in Seoul, named “LOUIS VUITON DAK” – a play on the word “tongdak” which means whole chicken in Korean. According to court documents, Kim has also utilized a logo very similar to that of the French fashion house and had it printed on his napkins and fried chicken take-out cartons.
None too pleased with Mr. Kim’s ingenuity, Louis Vuitton filed a suit in September 2015, alleging that the use its name to sell fried chicken was damaging to the brand. A district court in Seoul agreed and in October ordered Kim to immediately cease its use of the famed Paris-based brand and threatened a 500,000 won-per-day fine for non-compliance.
Kim responded by altering the restaurant name a bit to “chaLouisvui tondak,” which he unsuccessfully argued was different enough from the Louis Vuitton brand name to comply with the court order.
Louis Vuitton initiated legal action again with a court in Seoul and this week, the court ordered Kim to pay the fashion house 14.5 million won for the 29 days that the amended name was displayed. “Although he changed the name with different spacing, the two names sounded almost the same,” the Korea Times quoted the judge as saying.