For once, the trunk-maker was condemned by the Paris Court of Appeal last March for having used a clasp created by a designer without authorization.
The two parties had been doing business since 1987 and Jocelyne Imbert, the plaintiff, had made a clasp called “LV tournant” for the brand. LV had purchased the rights but a clause in the contract provided for additional payments if the brand used this clasp for another range of products.
In 2017, Ms. Imbert realized that her clasp was being used on a new line of bags, but also on wallets, key chains, belts and shoes.
She therefore sued Louis Vuitton for infringement to enforce her rights. After being dismissed in the first instance, the Court of Appeal ruled in her favor and awarded her financial compensation of 700000 euros in damages and 133088 euros in application of the contract.
Vuitton was probably not acting in bad faith in this case, but this argument is not operative in matters of infringement. This decision is a reminder, if one were needed, that it is desirable for each company to build up a library of signed contracts, which may be questioned several years after they are signed.