FASHION REPETITION: LVL XIII CLAIMS LOUIS VUITTON RIPS OFF THEIR TRADEMARK DESIGN
Luxury goods rookie, LVL XIII, is playing with fire. The NYC-based brand established in 2013 by Antonio Brown is claiming that LVMH’s daughter line is ripping off their patented metal toe accent in the Louis Vuitton “On the Road” footwear collection. The suit claims that LVMH is unfairly competing with the new brand by using the metal accent trade dress, which is “confusingly similar” and is being executed as an “effort to mislead.” Since the two brands are pricing shoes around the same range (~$500-$1200), it adds to the misperception – as if the brand names aren’t already alike acronymically. Brown claims that he constructed the design in 2012 to differentiate his brand from other footwear goods, and that the toe accent has become a signature of the brand.
LVL XIII, although fairly new, has already been adorned by popular figures like Chris Brown, Nas, pro-athletes, and models; they were also featured on publications like the Details’ blog. Brown did register for a very specific patent for the footwear categorized as a “design plus words.” The application only calls for protection on a rectangular metal plate with “LVL XIII” engraved and four screws on the front of the shoe. The specifics of the trade dress application in itself gives LVMH leeway to use a rectangular metal toe plate as long as no engravings and screws are present. How daring to pick on massive conglomerate LVMH when metal adornments (toe, back, or strap) have been utilized by other designers over the past two years: i.e. Givenchy in F/W 2013, Giuseppe Zanotti in F/W 2012.
According to Fashion United, a Louis Vuitton spokesperson countered the accusation saying, “the lawsuit is entirely without merit, and the company will vigorously defend itself.” Gloves on, Brown.