Does Louis Vuitton have no sense of humor?

That could be the case, or it might just be that the French luxury goods maker understands how crucial it is for a company to protect its intellectual property assets.

Naples readers who saw “The Hangover 2” might remember a joke when two of the film’s characters are in an airport. The character played by Zach Galifianakis frowns when another character jostles his luggage. “Careful, that’s a Louis Vuitton,” he says, mispronouncing the first names as “Lewis” instead of “Lou-ee” for humorous impact.

But Louis Vuitton wasn’t laughing because allegedly, the bag shown onscreen wasn’t a “Louis Vuitton” or even a “Lewis Vuitton” — it was a knockoff made by notorious Chinese imitation company Diophy. Louis Vuitton alleged that this use violated its trademark and sued.

Recently, a judge decided against Louis Vuitton, saying that the bag appeared onscreen for less than 30 seconds, so any likelihood of confusion in the minds of consumer was “minimal.” As for whether the bag was fake (the studio, Warner Brothers, has said it is not) the judge opined that even if it were, it would only further the joke, which is based on the idea that Galifianakis’ character isn’t as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as he’d

Even though the company did not get far with its suit, some companies consider moves like this against alleged trademark-violators to be worth it because they send a strong message that disrespect for their intellectual property rights will not be tolerated. You might want to have a conversation with an intellectual property attorney about some other (possibly less drastic) means of protecting your copyright, trademark, trade secret or patent.

Source: The Mail Online, “Louis Vuitton loses court battle against Warner Brothers after Hangover 2 used fake bag instead of the real deal,” June 18, 2012