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Justine Devisse Florian Dugenet Francesca Musacchio Francesca M. Padula Presenting: Francesca M. Padula and Francesca Musacchio
LOUIS VUITTON AGENDA • Introduction: “la maison” in Taipei • The three disputes: 7 - Eleven, LV Dental Clinic, RT-Mart • The role of TIPO – Problems about legislation • ECCT Position Papers • Short-Term Solutions • Long-Term Solutions • Teaching notes • Our proposal for final grade
LOUIS VUITTON THE SUBJECTS Worldwide control: IPRs Louis Vuitton Department Louis Vuitton Taiwan 100% owned by LV …but… Taiwanese company Chi & Hsieh Law Offices: Local Attorney specialized in IPRs
LOUIS VUITTON LA MAISON IN TAIPEI • Fabulous opening ceremony feat. the South Korean star Rain + after party at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall cost US$1. 5 mn • Designed by the Japanese architect Inui Kumiko opaque surfaces bearing the fashion company's signature "damier" pattern • Large mirrors show looped videos of LV collections • The stones, laser monogrammed with square holes, are backlit by an ethereal orange glow at night • The second LV bookstore in the world, with glossy tomes like African Wisdom 365 Days by Danielle and Olivier Follmi
LOUIS VUITTON LA MAISON IN TAIPEI Of all the markets in which international luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton are operating, Taiwan is the worst offender in the aspect of protection of the mark A contradiction that luxury brands really like commercialising, selling, spending money for advertisements in Taiwan as they respect the tastes of Taiwanese customers but then Taiwan’s particular political and social situation and the fact that does not belong to WIPO, allows everyone to decrease these luxury brands’ brand values so easily Louis Vuitton entrust Taiwan! How does Taiwan react?
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS 7 ELEVEN Infringement: • Owned and operated by one of the largest business entity in Taiwan, Uni-President(統一企業集團) • During the period 13 April till 10 May, 2005: Any consumer who purchased any two kinds of vegetable/fruit drinks at a 7 - Eleven stores may get a right to take part in a promotion on the website to win prizes among which LV Bags [LV Cherry Bag (42. 000 NT$)] Trying to induce consumers to make a buy at their franchisee all over Taiwan by granting consumers the opportunity to join the lucky draw activity Increase demand base, average spending and increase consumers’ loyalty • Photos of LV bags used on the ads in a relatively large size at a highlighted position [use of (unregistered) mark LV in the promotion flyer]
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS 7 ELEVEN • Spring 2005: The 1 st Cease & Desist letter sent to 7 -Eleven. Written response of 7 -Eleven: “We have informed LV Taiwan before the beginning of this promotion”. True!…but LV Taiwan gave NO agreement or permission to 7 -Eleven anytime and anyway. • The 2 nd Cease & Desist letter sent to 7 -Eleven to rebut their assertion. No response • Case closed afterwards 7 - Eleven put a stop to the promotion since then
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS LOUIS VUITTON DENTAL CLINIC • In Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall area in 2005 it pops up a placard promoting the new opening of the “Louis Vuitton Dental Clinic” • Signal was out on a certain date before May 2005 • Letters addresses to the landlord • Empty neo Building • Unknown dentist and Unknown opening date
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS LOUIS VUITTON DENTAL CLINIC • A dental clinic was seen to hang up a cloth signboard outside a building closed to the Memorial Hall, on which printed “LOUIS VUITTON” (no logo) along with the Chinese “路易威登” as their name • LV has no trademark registration for the service of dental clinic in Taiwan, or else where the world • 17 May 2005: The 1 st Cease & Desist letter was sent to the clinic, returned due to no person at the premises • 11 Sept 2007: The cloth signboard remained there and the 2 nd Cease & Desist letter was sent to the landlord • No response to this second C&D letter • Case is pending and LV Taiwan are following up with the landlord.
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS RT-MART • RT Mart is a well-known hypermarket chain with 19 locations around Taiwan • Taiwanese-French venture since 2000: controlled by the Auchan (67%) • 2005: RT Mart consumers had the possibility to win 156 Louis Vuitton bags as well as other 156 famous brands’ products (Totally 1040 luxury products promoted) • Promotion flyer showing drawings of LV bags • LV Taiwan was very confident on this case as an eventual “Legal Precedent”
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS RT-MART • The 1 st Cease & Desist letter was sent to RT-Mart on 28 Oct. 2005. RT-Mart responded and presented several sales note (sale receipt) on which some individuals’ name were showed • The quantity of 23 pieces showed on those sales notes were much less than the total amount of 156 pieces LV bags claimed on the • promotional materials of RT-Mart • The 2 nd Cease & Desist letter was sent to RT-Mart but they failed to answer. LV therefore filed with a petition with the Fair Trade Committee (FTC) against RT-Mart
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS RT-MART • FTC negative decision: the promotion conducted by RT-Mart did not violate the Fair Trade Act (FTA), with the main reason that RTMart was the “end-consumer” who should not be bound by the FTA • LV appealed with the Appealing Committee of the Executive Yuen • • This kind of use would mislead consumers to associate RT-Mart with LV, which may dilute the distinctiveness of LV trademarks. RT-Mart had failed to prove they did have purchased 156 pieces of LV bags (prizes), which may constitute a deceptive conduct. • The Appealing Committee ignored these arguments and rejected the appeal. Case was closed.
LOUIS VUITTON VERSUS FREE RIDERS LEGAL REMEDIES C&D Letters A cease-and-desist letter is a letter demanding that the recipient refrain from a certain behavior or face legal action. It is typically used in the happenings of these behaviours: § Stalking or other forms of harassment § Property, neighborhood, and boundary disputes § Copyright infringement or trademark infringement § Libel or slander In the case of copyright or trademark infringement, libel, and slander, the letter typically threatens a civil lawsuit if the recipient continues the undesired activity.
LOUIS VUITTON MEETING WITH THE ATTORNEY • Taiwan has a thorough and complete IPR legal system and relative enforcement regulations, which all comply with the TRIPS, under the WTO structure • The article 62 of the Trademark Law gives the trademark holders an opportunity to stop infringements • Other preventive measures: Fair Trade Act (FTA) and Civil Law. However, especially in the short term the C&D letter campaign is the most efficient way to deal with this type of infringement
LOUIS VUITTON MEETING WITH THE ATTORNEY • Post-infringement measures: C&D letter and settlement negotiations before civil suit • Louis Vuitton asks for the same remedies from all counterparts breaking the law, whether it is a well-known enterprise or a small business. Negotiation tactics may vary depending on the defendant's skill, sophistication and bargaining power • LV Taiwan committed an effort to support ECCT on the lobby task to the Taiwan government. Mr Thery is a member of the Luxury Goods Committee.
LOUIS VUITTON PROBLEMS ABOUT LEGISLATION
LOUIS VUITTON PROBLEMS ABOUT LEGISLATION TIPO
LOUIS VUITTON PROBLEMS ABOUT LEGISLATION PROBLEM WITH LAW Even if it is prohibited to use another's famous trademark as one's company name or business name without the trademark owner's consent, it is to note that: • the articles regulating the registration of company/business names only speaks about the conflict between company/business names and company/business names NO taking into account the conflict between company/business names and famous trademarks (Law-weakness) • the prevalence of ‘copycat’ products in Taiwan is such that IPR owners are still reluctant to test cases (culturalproblem).
LOUIS VUITTON PROBLEMS ABOUT LEGISLATION IPR committee members remain very concerned by the draft amendments to Article 20 of the Fair Trade Act effect of removing key trade-dress protections: • the words “trademark” at Article 20 Section 1(1) and “mark” in Section 1(2) eliminated standards set in the original Fair Trade Act useless. • deleted the acts ‘selling, transporting, exporting or importing’ with only ‘using’ kept, resulting in a loophole for infringers who manufacture infringing goods abroad. • created further loopholes by moving some categories of infringement from Article 24 to Article 20 Section 1(2), narrowing the scope of enforcement in free-rider situations.
LOUIS VUITTON PROBLEMS ABOUT LEGISLATION How TIPO can face the problem • With FTC: broader interpretation when unauthorized commercial use famous trademarks or brand-name products avoid illicit use of the product involved and dilution of their value. • publish a listing of famous trademarks and establish a mechanism for their announcement, indexing and inquiry. • instruct the government authorities in charge of company/business name registration to dismiss applications for registering a company/business name identical or similar to other famous trademarks.
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS • In March 2007, two important IPR laws to change the regime were passed, but the problem has not been solved • Stronger dialogue with the government to get: • Temporary agreements to guarantee basic Louis Vuitton brand protection and allow civil actions with short-term effects • New break-throughs in legislation long-term improvement
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS • European Chamber of Commerce • Largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan- 650 members • 28 committees for as many different industries Luxury Goods Committee Intellectual Property Rights Committee • Last year, dealt with 155 issues: – 18 resolved – 32 in progress – 105: no progress
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS • ECCT a way to resolve Louis Vuitton’s problem? • ECCT can be a safer way to resolve IPRs problems in the long run: – By pushing the government to legislate – By making its recommendations public in ECCT Position Papers The media & general public awareness
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS Similar infringement case in another industry: Subway: brand abused by a Taiwanese restaurant chain • Minimal change in the sign oustide • Same colours, decoration and furniture • In spite of the confusion provoked, no legal way to stop this free-rider!
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS Similar infringement case in luxury goods industry Chanel: brand abused by a Taiwanese chain hotel – Chain hotel uses a very similar Chinese name – No authorization from Chanel – But no way to interrupt this illegal practice in Taiwan!
LOUIS VUITTON ECCT POSITION PAPERS Taiwan must abide with WTO TRIPS obligations: • Taiwan courts must sue free-riders in civil actions, use « effective action » against infringements • By developing a trademark protection for famous brands: new legislation because the current one is inappropriate • By revising the laws governing the registration of company names
LOUIS VUITTON LATEST NEWS DEC. 2007 1) The Legal Novelty Luxury goods brands’ area is a loophole in the current laws Taiwan’ s new IP Court • Set to go into operation by July 2008 • TIPO will appoint 10 of the most qualified technical officials from its office to be dispatched to the IP court to assist with the slew of complicated IP cases expected to be heard by the court when it opens for business 2) The Human Novelty
LOUIS VUITTON LATEST NEWS DEC. 2007 One woman at IPO: Wang Mei-Hua “While the illegitimate use of famous brand names such as the Chanel love hotels or dental clinics may raise no more than a chuckle for the man on the street, the affected brands do not find this kind of imitation flattering at all. ” Wang Mei-Hua TIPO will be arranging a seminar in conjunction with the European Economic and Trade Office (The EU official representative in Taiwan) and the ECCT in the near future Wang Mei-Hua, center, Director General of the MOEA’s Intellectual Property Office with Guy Wittich, left, ECCT CEO and John Eastwood, Chairman of the ECCT’s IPR committee
LOUIS VUITTON SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS • Push European/ foreign brands to register their marks in an ubiquitous way through TIPO • Soft Negotiations • French (National) Embassy Intervenes to solve specific cases in the short-term (Competition Law and Fair Trade is a EU subject matter) LV & Louis Vuitton
LOUIS VUITTON LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS Lobbying by the ECCT to push government authorities to change the existing laws and the application Creation of a new Commission for the interpretation of cases involving European brands constituted of both members of ECC and members of TIPO and FTC (Fair Trade Commission) with a decisional power Spread the TRIPS (as international regulation it should be higher that national law) till the Trademark Act is not changed Propagate advertisments through the media to teach the importance of the protection of IPRs Do not be high-handedly. Encourage negotiation and dialogue. This illecit behaviour is not done on purpose
LOUIS VUITTON TEACHING NOTES 1) “The alternative methodology” 2) The appealing power of LV in Asia 3) Possibility to meet experts and work in a 4) fabulous sector 5)4) Discover IPRs 6)5) International marketing mix 7)6) The diplomatic factor
LOUIS VUITTON OUR PROPOSAL FOR FINAL GRADE 100%!!! The nature of the problem IPR PROBLEMS HIGLY CONTROVERSIAL, EXPECIALLY IN TAIWAN Our team WE ARE THE SMALLEST GROUP BUT HIGLY COMMITED PEOPLE Our “original” methodology WHY? ? TWOFOLD METHOD: MEETINGS AND PAPER RESEARCH Our efforts in spectator’s involvement IPR PROBLEMS, IN GENERAL, ARE NOT SO INTERESTING
Thank you for your attention Merry Christmas