5:26pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Warner Bros. Sued by Louis Vuitton Over 'Hangover II' Handbag
The Hangover Part II is making a strong case for being named most-litigated movie of 2011. Even as Warner Bros. has moved in recent weeks to settle a rash of litigation stemming from the blockbuster comedy sequel, a new lawsuit has been filed over a handbag featured in the film.
Luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton filed suit in federal court in New York on Thursday alleging that a handbag featured in the movie is a fakery. In the scene, the character played by Zach Galifianakis carries a bag marked LVM and admonishes another character: “Careful, that is.. that is a Louis Vuitton.”
But the complaint (posted in full here by Paid Content) alleges that the bag is instead made by the Chinese American company Diophy, which Louis Vuitton is currently suing in an attempt to prevent knock-off items from being sold in the U.S.
Louis Vuitton says it has been damaged by the consumer confusion ("Careful, that is a Louis Vuitton." has supposedly become a catchphrase) and claims that Warners has refused to alter the scene before the movie is released on DVD.
A Warners spokesman declined to comment on the suit.
As we've reported, Hangover II has become something of a litigation magnet. On the intellectual property front, the studio was sued earlier this year by a tattoo artist who claimed the distinctive mark on Ed Helms' face was an infringement of a tattoo he created for boxer Mike Tyson. That case settled. In October, writer Michael Alan Rubin sued claiming the movie was stolen from his script about his adventures in Asia, including ditching his girlfriend and proposing to a male-to-female transsexual prostitute. That case was dismissed. Warners also settled a case brought by stuntman Scott McLean, who claimed he suffered brain trauma during a stunt gone wrong.
Louis Vuitton is seeking to stop the release of the scenes with the fake handbag, as well as a share of profits from the film. The causes of action include trademark dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition.