Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Floral Law Suit

Louis Vuitton, known popularly as LV, is taking issue with a series of watches being sold by City Chain under its Solvil brand.

LV says the watches have a floral design similar to its trademarked motif - a flower with four pointed petals. Not only does this create confusion for the consumer, selling lookalike watches in the mass market will also damage LV's image of exclusivity and dilute its market, it says.

Last year, LV obtained search warrants and raided four City Chain outlets in Singapore to seize the watches. The same watches are sold in China and Malaysia.

Mr Wong argued that the prominent floral designs on the Solvil watches are similar, if not identical, to those on LV watches. Unwary members of the public may think the watches come from LV, especially with the small typeface of the 'Solvil' name on them.

He said that LV products are intended to be exclusive. Selling in the mass market, as City Chain does, would damage its image of exclusivity, causing LV's existing customers to turn away, he said.

But City Chain, represented by Lee and Lee, argues that the floral designs on its watches are not similar to LV's marks.

It says it is using the designs not as trademarks, but merely as decorative elements; the trademark 'Solvil' is clearly indicated on its watches.

Moreover, the prices of Solvil watches are different from LV's watches; its customer base is also different from LV's.

LV has also launched criminal proceedings against City Chain, which has applied to quash the search warrants and effectively dismiss the criminal charges.

The watch that caused it all.. picture from LianHe Zaobao

The Real McCoy? LV watch image taken from LV website

First, how exclusive are LV products, especially when you see them nearly everywhere these days... not forgetting the pasar malams as well as the make shift peddlers that sell them at the underpass at Orchard?

Also, LV is well known for leather products, and how many people will actually buy a LV watch?

And do they even look similar?

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