why louis vuitton sued a fried chicken restaurant
The luxury house called fowl play on a South Korean chicken establishment whose name and packaging design are unsavory knockoffs.
Shrink-wrapped quilted bags and double-C branded cartons of eggs were kosher at Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel supermarket; Moschino is clearly down with McDonald's. But another European luxury house is presently in a serious food fight. Earlier this week, news surfaced that Louis Vuitton has won a court battle against a South Korean fried chicken restaurant in the weirdest case of copyright infringement ever.
Louis Vuitton Dak — a pun on the Korean word for "whole chicken," tondak — has been ordered by a Korean district court to pay a 14.5 million won ($12,750) fine to Louis Vuitton for using the brand's name as well as adapting its iconic monogram logo into a remarkably similar design printed on napkins, cartons, and wrappers. According to Mashable, Louis Vuitton claimed "using its name for a fried chicken restaurant was damaging the brand's originality and devaluing its prestige."
The restaurant's owner — a man identified only by his last name, Kim — apparently tried to change his business' name to the slightly more subtle "chaLOUISVUI TONDAK." Unsurprisingly, he was unsuccessful. "The (Korean) name, which plays an important role in making a distinction is still read in the same way," the court explained in a statement, "so we cannot say that the new name lies beyond the scope of the court's ban."
Were it in his nature, we wouldn't be surprised if artist Tom Sachs considered slapping this mysterious Kim with an intellectual property lawsuit, too. His business model is basically a real-life version of some of Sachs' most well known work: his Prada, Chanel, Tiffany, and Hermes Value Meals. But who knows? Perhaps the ever unpredictable Sachs will actually team up with Korea's most fashionable chicken establishment for a pop-up BBQ at his fully operational Lower East Side bodega.
Text Emily Manning