You may have seen the Pooey Puitton toy purse around—yes, it’s that white-colored poop-shaped bag that promises sweet treats and toys in its compartment, as well as slime, which are a hit with kids this time around. It’s making the news, but not because of the gooey, juvenile surprises it has inside. Rather, it is being talked about because of its creators, California-based MGA Entertainment, filed a lawsuit against the very brand the toy mocks, Louis Vuitton. The company has taken a preemptive measure to protect the bestseller toy from being taken down by the French brand, which MGA claims is being overprotective about its trademarks.
The official complaint states a specific instance that prompted MGA to take the move. Last month, a customer was supposedly made aware that the toy infringes on one of Louis Vuitton’s trademarks by a representative of Louis Vuitton, especially because the toy-slash-purse made use of the toile monogram which has grown to become synonymous with the French brand. After learning of this, MGA anticipated that they will be served later on by the label, and decided they should act sooner.
The document details the reasons for MGA not to be held responsible for trademark infringement. For one, the company categorizes Pooey Puitton as a protected parody, starting with the name all the way to its appearance, which to some would evoke the image of Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton. As a parody product, Pooey was created to mock and criticize the brand and the pizzazz that is associated with it, instead of directly benefiting from the likeness of the revered bags. It also claims that no one would mistake Pooey for an LV bag, especially because it is hundreds below the usual price of one, and that Pooey is intended for children. It’s an obvious point to make, but at $59.99, anyone would know that they don’t have a designer purse in their possession. Pooey Puitton is also for sale in mass-market stores rather than in high-end boutiques.
The decision to act sooner may have been based on previous cases with the luxury brand in which parody rights were not observed, as the complaint by MGA states, although recent cases had Louis Vuitton losing. In the past, it went after Dutch-Danish artist Nadia Plesner for depicting a designer bag that looks similar to the brand’s monogrammed handbag first on shirts sold for charity, and later on in a painting. The Dutch court initially ruled in favor of the luxury brand but eventually reversed its decision after the case drew much attention and the international media expressed support for Plesner. Louis Vuitton also issued a cease and desist letter to the University of Pennsylvania Law School for a flyer that used its toile monogram.
As of this writing, the company is still yet to receive legal threats from Louis Vuitton. The Louis Vuitton camp has also refused to comment so far on the lawsuit against them by MGA.
Image credits: NY Post, Pooey Puitton, MGA Entertainment, Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times, Louis Vuitton, Martin Raphaël Martiq, Sothebys, Nadia Plesner