Louis Vuitton & Intellectual Property

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  1. Louis Vuitton Granted Even More Design Patents for Recent Handbag Designs
    After adding four new design patents to its roster late last month, Louis Vuitton has been awarded two additional patents in connection with more of its recent handbag designs. You may recall that the Paris-based house was recently granted patent protection for its GO-14 and Malletage GO-14, LockMe, and Twist bags, all of which were created by Darren Spaziani, an accessories designer, who joined the Paris-based house during Marc Jacobs’ tenure. As of early this month. Louis Vuitton can also claim federal protection for the “ornamental design” of its Petite Malle (pictured above) and Doc BB Speedy bags (pictured below).

    According to Louis Vuitton’s patent applications for the Petite Malle and the Doc BB Speedy, which were respectively filed in March 2015 and October 2014, the designs were created by Louis Vuitton leather goods designers, Florian Fröhlich (in the case of the Petite Malle) and Emma Gale (the Doc BB Speedy). The patents entitle Louis Vuitton to roughly 14 years of exclusive use of the designs, thereby permitting the house to bring legal action against copyists, which will likely prove especially fruitful in connection with the Petite Malle.

    Just last month, Women’s Wear Daily’s Bridget Foley took on the topic in her column by way of an article entitled, The Case of the Truncated Trunk, in which she looked to the copying of “it” bags, or more precisely, one “it” bag, in particular. She is referring, of course, to Louis Vuitton’s Petite Malle bags, which have been popularized under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquière, who joined the famed house in 2013, and which have been copied by an array of brands, including but not limited to Max Azria, Sam Edelman, and Nasty Gal, since. Thanks to the house’s newly granted patents (a rather strong form of legal protection), we very well may be seeing far fewer copycat versions of its bags.

    Design patents, which protect the ornamental design of a functional item, such as a handbag, often prove to be a relatively time-consuming and costly form of protection to obtain. The turnaround time – or the pendency, the term that refers to the time taken by a patent examiner between filing and issuance of the design patent – tends to be about 18 months, with some taking quite a bit longer. While a year and a half is not a terribly long time, it is often too long to wait for most garments and accessories. Given the very seasonal and cyclical nature of the fashion industry, oftentimes, a design will be “so last season,” so to speak, by the time a design patent is issued, thereby making it less likely that the design will be copied. With this in mind, we tend to only see such protection sought only for brands’ staple items, and only by brands with the upwards of $10,000 to spend on each single patent.

    However, the growing number of recent patent filings and awards certainly sheds light on the fast that brands that can afford it are placing significant reliance on design patents as a valuable form of protection against rampant copying by both fast fashion and mid-market retailers.
  2. You're welcome.
  3. This is really interesting - thank you Copycat bags do frustrate me! Glad to see there will hopefully be less in the future!
  4. Michael Kors needs to take note. He's the worst!
  5. Thank you for sharing. I so enjoy knowing more about the actual business of the LV House.
    fabuleux likes this.
  6. Very interesting!
    fabuleux likes this.
  7. Me too! I wish more members were interested in that side of the company. :smile:
  8. Wow! I find this fascinating. Maybe more brands will follow LV's lead.
    fabuleux likes this.
  9. Good read!
    fabuleux likes this.
  10. This is fascinating & incredibly enlightening! Thank you!
    fabuleux likes this.
  11. Good to know! Thanks for sharing!
    fabuleux likes this.
  12. #12 Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
    I wonder if LV renew their patent designs when the patent expires? I know Disney is aggressive with their Characters and their other intellectual properties. When Mickey Mouse patent is about to expire-Disney ask for repeal and pay to renew the patent before it about to expire. If Disney doesn't bother renewing Mickey Mouse Patent, Mickey Mouse will enter public domain (which will never happen).
  13. This is really interesting. I love hearing about the business side of LVMH! Thank you for sharing.
    fabuleux likes this.
  14. Thanks for sharing this! I've personally never minded "inspired" bags so long as the designer adds their own creative twist and that you could easily tell the brands apart at a good distance (diversity is the spice of life after all and not everyone wants to spend 1K on a bag) but lately that line has been blurred. Some brands, not naming names here, have been on the verge of copying the ideas of others almost to the exact material and stitch which isn't good...it's forgery at this point and it's no longer about offering people of different spending levels a wide variety of options. Be creative. Be ethical. And quit copying...that's what photocopy machines do.
  15. Very interesting. Thank you for posting.