The recent twin judgments of the EU General Court, issued on 21 April 2015, have cancelled Louis Vuitton’s two Community Trademarks. The first trademark was registered in 1998 and covers a dark brown and beige chequerboard. The second trademark was registered in 2008 and is composed of the same pattern, but in black and gray colours. The chequerboards were present at Louis Vuitton’s leather bags and other leather goods.
The trademarks were challenged by Nanu-Nana in 2009. In its judgments, the EU General Court has ruled that the chequerboard patterns of Louis Vuitton’s do not differ enough from other leather bags as they are banal and basic. According to the Court, the design is now regarded by consumers as common and not particularly associated with Louis Vuitton.
The consequences of the EU General Court’s judgments are serious for Louis Vuitton. The company can no longer claim monopoly on both of the chequerboard patterns, even if it was Louis Vuitton that first started to manufacture goods with those patterns. Now it is possible for everyone to manufacture bags that look just like Louis Vuitton’s famous chequered bags. This in turn, may lead to the erosion of Louis Vuitton’s brand.
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