On August 31, 2016, once again Louis Vuitton Malletier (commonly referred to as “Louis Vuitton” or shortened to “LV”) won a favorable judgment in the second trial against 2R International Co., Ltd. owning the fashion brand 2R, primarily known for its lady’s handbags products, and its chairman Mr. Lee 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 200 times as much as the average sales price of 2R bags for its distribution of a series of handbags bearing LV’s EPI trademarkof its online and physical stores as well.
Click here to view EPI trademark of LV
The world's best-known luxury label Louis Vuitton Malletieris 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 2R sold in its online and physical stores bear LV’s EPI trademark and highly similar to the Noe bags and Neverfull bags of LV.
LV had filed a criminal action for trademark infringement against 2R International Co., Ltd. and its chairman before. Unexpectedly, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Shihlin District Court concluded that the ripple design of the 2R products was a product appearance design only, instead of trademark use, and that there was no sufficient evidence showing that general customers would be confused. Correspondingly, a non-indictment decision was issued. However, this point of view did not win the support from Taiwan Intellectual Property Court later, neither in the first nor the second trial.
To safeguard its legitimate rights and combat against unlawful infringing activities, LV filed another civil action against 2R in Taiwan Intellectual Property Court claiming that 2R’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 2R have violated Taiwan Trademark Law and Fair Trade Law. At the same time, 2R also argued that general customers would not be confused because all these alleged infringing patterns used on 2R’s products should only be regarded as product appearance design, instead of trademark use.
According to the verdict of Taiwan Intellectual Property Court at the end of August 2016, Taiwan Intellectual Property Court concluded once again 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 2R’s bags is extremely similar to LV’s trademarked EPI pattern and its style is also the LV’s design of Noe and Neverfull bags. Even though 2R labels its own trademark on its handbag products, these products may still mislead general customers. Furthermore, 2R even purposely sells and promotes these infringing products along with improper slogans,such as “customized ripple pattern looking”, “ 2R customized products of brand name” and etc., which apparently intends to use LV’s EPI pattern as a trademark on its own products. Taiwan Intellectual Property Court also held that 2R’s unlawful conducts 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 2R International Co., Ltd. to issue a public apology to LV in half page of Economic Daily News.