After Plesner, Vuitton sues Warner Bros.

Luxury bagmaker Louis Vuitton is at it again. After unsuccessfully suing Danish artist Nadia Plesner for copyright infringement for depicting an Audra bag in her large-scale painting Darfurnica, the  company is suing Warner Brothers for trademark infringement for a joke in the movie The Hangover II about a knock-off Vuitton bag. The Wall Street Journal describes the scene:
...the drug-addled doofus played by Zach Galifianakis fancies himself fancy because he is carrying what appears to be one of the company's bags. "Careful," he cautions in the movie, "that is a Louis Vuitton." The line is said to have become something of a pop-culture catchphrase, which has Louis Vuitton bent out of shape—specially since, according to its court filing claiming trademark infringement, the bag in question is a fake. The company wants the knock-off and the catchphrase excised from all copies of the film, and some compensation culled from the movie's profits for good measure.
TMZ has a clip of the offending 6-second scene.

Vuitton, which posted profits of $28.26 billion in 2010, doesn't have much of a chance in court, WSJ's Eric Felten writes, citing a dismissed suit by Wham-O over a scene in the film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star that showed a dangerously misused Slip'n'Slide. He continues:
If "Careful, that is a Louis Vuitton" has really become a catchphrase, the filmmakers ought to trademark it. Then they can sue Louis Vuitton for using that trademark in its litigation against the "Hangover" crowd.
The film has every right, as I see it, to satirize the company's products, even if the gag is used in a movie with an aim of making a profit. That wasn't the case with Plesner: Her painting, a riff on Picasso's Guernica, was created for (nonprofit) artistic and activist reasons. The cause: Raising awareness of the plight of people, especially children, dying in Darfur -- and the apparent indifference of many, including ultra-wealth celebrities, to their suffering. Louis Vuitton sought to collect 5,000 euros for each day the painting stayed on Plesner's website.

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