Louis Vuitton Loses Battle to Save Checkerboard Trademark

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton
The Damier checkerboard pattern on Louis Vuitton's "Speedy 35" handbag.

According to the European Union courts, the brand's Damier pattern was "invalidly registered due to a lack of distinctive character." Let the copycats commence.

Take a trip to any major city's downtown fashion market (New York City's Chinatown, for example) and it's easy to see that Louis Vuitton is one of the most commonly forged designer brands around. With its signature brown and beige LV logo and checkerboard patterns, it's both easily recognizable and easily replicated. 

Now, after the General court of the European Union announced last week that the brand's Damier checkerboard pattern trademark was "invalidly registered due to a lack of distinctive character," it looks like the French fashion house will have even greater difficulty warding off imposters. 

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WWD reports that the trademark, initially filed in 2008, was first called into question in 2009 by German retailer Nanu-Nana who filed to have it repealed. In 2011, the request to invalidate the trademark was granted, and the Louis Vuitton legal team has been working to appeal the decision ever since. 

As of April 21, the European Union Court has chosen to uphold the decision made by the First Board of Appeal of the Office for Harmonization for Internal Markets which stated, "the checkerboard pattern, as represented in the contested trade mark, was a basic and banal feature composed of very simple elements and that it was well-known that that feature had been commonly used with a decorative purpose in relation to various goods.”

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To add insult to injury, Louis Vuitton is also being ordered to pay its opponents' court costs. Ouch.

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