Lanham Act Interpreted Regarding Likelihhood of Consfusion Between Designer Handbags

Louis Vuitton has used many federally registered trademarks for its products since 1896. The company sued a retailer alleging trademark infringement due to likely confusion in the marketplace due to the similarity of the retailer’s handbags to the Multicolore trademark used by Vuitton. After its motion for a preliminary injunction was denied, Vuitton appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed, observing that a court should not focus on the subtle differences in the products when viewed side by side, but rather, for Lanham Act purposes, consider how a consumer could be misled in real market conditions. The case was remanded for further proceedings concerning Vuitton’s preliminary injunction motion.

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