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How many courts does it take to make Louis Vuitton pack its bags?
Three: a U.S. District Court; a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court. They all said Louis Vuitton could take its case and go home.
In Louis Vuitton Malletier v. My Other Bag, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment against the high-fashion company's trademark and copyright case against a small company that made a parody bag. The U.S. Supreme Court said, "can't you take a joke?"
Actually, the justices said "petition denied" and left the Second Circuit decision in place. It brought an end -- finally -- to a bad case based on a good joke.
My Other Bag, founded by Tara Martin, describes itself on its website as an "eco-friendly canvas tote with a designer twist." Louis Vuitton apparently took umbrage that the company was mocking the high-fashion company with a low-cost canvas tote that said, "My Other Bag is a Louis Vuitton."
The luxury bag-maker threw its litigation resources at the smaller business, chasing it through courts from New York to Washington, D.C. Every court that considered the complaint rejected it.
The Second Circuit said My Other Bag's plain design is "such a conscious departure from LV's image of luxury -- in combination with the slogan "My other bag" -- as to convey that MOB's tote bags are not LV handbags."
Who's Laughing Now?
Meanwhile, it looks like My Other Bag has toned down the humor on its website. In its press room, the company says nothing about the legal victory.
Instead, it features photos of celebrities toting its bags. Jessica Alba, Katie Holmes, Jessica Beal, Kendall Jenner, and others sport My Other Bag.
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