LVMH sues Hong Kong merchant over XLV wine range

French luxury group LVMH is suing Hong Kong wine merchant, Cuvee XLV French Wine, for infringement of its legal trademark over a wine range named ‘XLV’, that was created in partnership with a member of the fashion family.

Wong Sau Ying (far left) at an XLV wine event in Hong Kong (photo source: XLV Facebook page)

According to local media reports in Hong Kong, the plaintiffs – Louis Vuitton’s trademark owner, Louis Vuitton Malletier, and Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – allege that the XLV range created by the son of Xavier-Louis Vuitton and distributed in Hong Kong by Cuvee XLV French Wine Limited has infringed on its legal intellectual property rights over the Louis Vuitton logo.

The plaintiffs said in the High Court hearing on 16 January that the defendants deliberately used designs to mimic the Louis Vuitton logo such as using the same ‘Italic’ font in XLV to mislead consumers.

The XLV wine range has no connection to the Louis Vuitton brand or LVMH group although the wines are produced by Quentin-Louis, the son of fifth generation family member Xavier-Louis Vuitton.The owner of Cuvee XLV, Wong Sau Ying, in a 2012 interview with db made it clear that the range has no link with Louis Vuitton or the group.

The range consists of wines sourced from different parts of France and each wine is labelled with different colours to distinguish its origins. It was created specially to target Chinese wine drinkers, Wong said at the time, adding that the Louis Vuitton family connection was important for the wine sale.

“The family is involved and that is important. In China trust is important – there are many imitations, but this brand can be trusted,” he told db then.

Wong, however, argued during the court session that the font size of XLV and LV were different, according to Hong Kong 101.

The case was filed by LVMH after they discovered in 2008 that XLV wines were being sold in Hong Kong restaurants.

The 165-year old brand has trademarked all its logos, monogram, flowers motifs used on its clothing and other products.

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