On April 29, 2016, Louis Vuitton Malletier (commonly referred to as “Louis Vuitton” or shortened to “LV”) won a favorable judgment against Yi Ze Tian International Co., Ltd. owning the fashion brand iki2, primarily known for its teen girl apparel products, and its chairman Mr. Tang from Taiwan Intellectual Property Court. Meanwhile, the defendants were ordered to issue a public apology to LV and pay a significant amount in damage, equal to 250 times as much as the average sales price of iki2 bags for its distribution of a series of handbags bearing LV’s EPI trademark of its online and physical stores as well.
The world's best-known luxury label Louis Vuitton Malletier is the owner of the trademarked EPI pattern (please refer to the following trademark design) which have been known to the public since 1985 and applied to the luxurious leather products all over the world and Taiwan for over 30 years. Nevertheless, certain products of iki2 sold in its online and physical stores bear LV’s EPI trademark and highly similar to the Speedy bags and Bucket bags.
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LV had filed a criminal action for trademark infringement against iki2-Yi Ze Tian International Co., Ltd. and its chairman before. Unexpectedly, the Prosecutor Office of the Taipei District court concluded that the ripple design of the iki2 products was a product appearance design only, instead of trademark use, and that there was no sufficient evidence showing that iki2 intentionally used LV’s EPI trademark. Correspondingly, a non-indictment decision was issued. However, this point of view did not win the support from Taiwan Intellectual Property Court later.
To safeguard its legitimate rights and combat against unlawful infringing activities, LV submitted the case against iki2 to Taiwan Intellectual Property Court claiming that iki2’s unauthorized use of LV’s trademark has not only seriously damaged LV’s legitimate right and weaken the identification of LV’s trademark but also damaged LV’s fame and reputation. LV also affirmatively believed that all these unlawful trademark use of iki2 have violated Taiwan Trademark Law and Fair Trade Law. At the same time, iki2 also argued that general customers would not be confused because all these alleged infringing patterns used on iki2’s products should only be regarded as product appearance design instead of trademark use.
According to the verdict of Taiwan Intellectual Property Court, Taiwan Intellectual Property Court concluded that EPI pattern has been a famous trademark by LV’s long term use and promotion over span of years among fashion industry and general customers. The ripple pattern of the iki2’s bags is extremely similar to LV’s trademarked EPI pattern and its style is also the LV’s design of Bucket and Speedy bags. Even though iki2 labels its own trademark on its handbag products, these products may still mislead general customers. Furthermore, iki2 even purposely sells and promotes these infringing products along with improper slogans, such as “the bag is a fine work designed with the unforgettable unique pattern and classical style of bucket bags”, which apparently intends to use LV’s EPI pattern as a trademark on its own products. Taiwan Intellectual Property Court also held that iki2’s unlawful behaviors have committed trademark infringement and unfair competition by taking a free ride on the LV's reputation. Accordingly, except for the significant damages compensation, Taiwan Intellectual Property Court also ordered Yi Ze Tian International Co., Ltd. to issue a public apology to LV in half page of Economic Daily News.