On Monday, April 10, Law360 reported that a small company who successfully defended itself against trademark infringement and dilution claims in January is now seeking nearly $1 million in attorney fees. My Other Bag, Inc. is a small company who sells parody versions of designer handbags and purses, which feature cartoon drawings of designer logos. These bags generally sell for between $35 and $55, significantly less than a genuine Louis Vuitton handbag. After the original suit was filed in 2014, the case was dismissed on appeal in January, with Judge Jesse M. Furman telling Louis Vuitton that it can be "better to accept the implied compliment in a parody and to smile or laugh" rather than sue.
Originally, My Other Bag had sought less than $400,000 in attorney fees, but increased this amount after having to spend an additional year litigating the appeal that eventually came before the Second Circuit in January. Since that ruling, My Other Bag has increased its request for attorney fees from $400,000 to over $800,000. In its request, My Other Bag stated this award would adequately punish Louis Vuitton for its "overreaching attempts at trademark and copyright enforcement," "chilling impact of Louis Vuitton's litigation strategy," and "hallmarks of unreasonable litigation tactics."
My Other Bag was able to win its case because of the "obvious difference" between the genuine Louis Vuitton bags and the parodies sold by My Other Bag. Judge Furman wrote that the bags mimic Louis Vuitton's enough to be recognizable, but conveyed that they were clearly not Louis Vuitton's genuine product because there was "such a conscious departure from [Louis Vuitton]'s image of luxury." In fact, the bags were so obviously parodies that the Second Circuit found the differences between the two made it very unlikely customers would be confused.