|LVM has registered trademarks for “LOUIS VUITTON” in connection with luggage and ladies’ handbags (the “LOUIS VUITTON mark”) and for a stylized monogram of “LV,” used in connection with traveling bags and other goods (the “LV mark”). In 2005, LVM adopted other designs consisting of canvas with repetitions of the LV mark (in multiple colors of red, green, and blue) and smiling cherries on a brown background (the “Cherry design”). The Multicolor design and the Cherry design attracted immediate and extraordinary media attention and publicity in magazines, such as Vogue, W, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Us Weekly, Life and Style, Travel & Leisure, People, In Style, and Jane. The press published photographs showing celebrities carrying these handbags, including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Eve, Elizabeth Hurley, Carmen Electra, and Anna Kournikova, among others. People magazine said that “the wait list is in the thousands.” The handbags retailed in the range of $995 for a medium handbag to $4,500 for a large travel bag. Haute Diggity Dog, LLC, which is a relatively small and relatively new business located in Nevada, manufactures and sells nationally—primarily through pet stores—a line of pet chew toys and beds whose names parody elegant high-end brands of products such as perfume, cars, shoes, sparkling wine, and handbags. These include—in addition to Chewy Vuiton (LOUIS VUITTON)—Chewnel No. 5 (Chanel No. 5), Furcedes (Mercedes), Jimmy Chew (Jimmy Choo), Dog Perignonn (Dom Perignon), Sniffany & Co. (Tiffany & Co.), and Dogior (Dior). The chew toys and pet beds are plush, are made of polyester, and have a shape and design that loosely imitate the signature product of the targeted brand. They are mostly distributed and sold through pet stores, although one or two Macy’s stores carry Haute Diggity Dog’s products. The dog toys are generally sold for less than $20, although larger versions of some of Haute Diggity Dog’s plush dog beds sell for more than $100. Haute Diggity Dog’s “Chewy Vuiton” dog toys, in particular, loosely resemble miniature handbags and undisputedly evoke LVM handbags of similar shape, design, and color. In lieu of the LOUIS VUITTON mark, the dog toy uses “Chewy Vuiton”; in lieu of the LV mark, it uses “CV”; the other symbols and colors employed are imitations (but not exact ones) of those used in the LVM Multicolor and Cherry designs. LVM brought suit against Haute Diggity alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution, copyright infringement, and common law violations. Can it recover? Why or why not? And on what basis would LVM argue for its allegations? [Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v Haute Diggity Dog, LLC, 507 F.3d 252 (4th Cir. 2007)]|
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