June 20, 2012

On June 15, 2012, Jenner & Block won the dismissal of a trademark infringement suit by Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A., against Firm client Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.  The luxury handbag manufacturer had sued Warner Bros. over the moviemaker’s use of an alleged knockoff of a Louis Vuitton travel bag in a scene in the movie “The Hangover Part II,” in which a character identifies the bag as a “Lew-is Vuitton.”

In granting the Firm’s motion to dismiss the suit, Judge Andrew Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York opined that the use of the bag in the film was  noncommercial speech protected by the First Amendment, that the likelihood of public confusion over the accessory’s origin was, at best, minimal, and that the use of the trademark was “artistically relevant.”  The Firm’s team representing the studio was led by Partner Andrew H. Bart and included Partner Gianni P. Servodidio and Associate David Z. Moskowitz.

Mr. Bart was quoted in articles about the lawsuit in The Am Law Litigation Daily, Bloomberg News, Law360 and Reuters.  He told Am Law that the ruling "properly captures the current state of trademark law" and protects Warner Brothers' First Amendment rights, which were "the paramount interest in the litigation."

News of the dismissal of the suit was also reported in publications including the Chicago Tribune and The Hollywood Reporter and discussed in a “LexisNexis Copyright & Trademark Law Community Blog.”