• Mar 5, 2010
Hyundai 'luxury' ad – Click above to watch the video after the jump

There probably isn't a day that goes by when an automaker isn't being sued for something. Some suits are extremely serious, while others peg the needle on the frivolity scale. And while Hyundai is flying high on the sales charts right now, the Korean automaker apparently isn't immune to a trip or two the local trademark infringement court.

At question is a Hyundai Sonata commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl that linked the company's new-for-2011 sedan to all things luxurious. About four seconds into the spot, a brown basketball with gold symbols is shown. Forgive us if we didn't immediately notice that the design of the ball is strikingly similar to the colors and symbols of Louis Vuitton, but the world-famous couture company caught on right away. So... are they excited about the free press during the Super Bowl? Not so much.

The Car Connection reports that Louis Vuitton is suing Hyundai because the French purse maker says the Korean automaker tried "to benefit commercially from the fame and renown of the LVM Marks by creating a false association between Louis Vuitton and its automobiles." So, what does LV want for Hyundai's alleged trademark infringement? How about "triple damages, punitive damages, a halt to the alleged infringement, and other remedies." Sounds a lot more expensive than a Louis Vuitton handbag, eh?

We aren't really up to speed on the legal ramifications of trademark infringement, so we aren't about to guess as to whether or not Hyundai will end up paying any fines or settlements. We do think it's a sweet-looking basketball, though, and Louis Vuitton should talk to Hyundai about borrowing that design so they can sell a few $300 $2,300 b-balls. If you don't remember the commercial in question, hit the jump to see it for yourself.

[Source: The Car Connection | Image: Louis Vuitton]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a case of no such thing as bad press. Hyundai, and for that mater LV, will ride the free publicity wave until it crests. Hyundai will then issue some half asses non-apology apology for upsetting LV.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If Hyundai is a ball maker, and they using LV logo in ther ball. it is problem.
      But, This is not the same case.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Give me a break. If they were playing basketball with a LV purse it would be one thing. The markings on the basketball aren't even the same design. What a frivolous lawsuit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      what a moronic lawsuit.

      and even more moronic comments above.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Quite idiot logic.
      First, This is not a LV's trade mark. And it is not same product.
      2nd, nobody confusing ball with car.
      3rd, nobody confusing LV with Hyundai.
      4th, nobody knew that ball is the LV-like trademark.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty sure Hyundai grosses in a few more dollars every year than Louis Vuitton. They should show up to court with a buy out offer for LV, and then sell the brand for a reduced value just to show that they've got the money to spit on them. LV is luxurious, but it seems to me they're just taking advantage of Hyundai's enormous pocketbook.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @49W5:

      you are babbling all over the place. and really, you seem to have no sense in real world business and how a business operates and survives... especially the branding aspect of a business. this issue has nothing to do with who likes Hyundai or LV. or who hates either brand. this isn't about Hyundai competing with LV. this is about Hyundai using a blatant copy of another luxury brand's design to add "credibility" to their want of becoming a "luxury brand." it doesn't matter whether you (or whoever) doesn't "like" LV and their products. LV is in fact a luxury brand whether you buy it or not. If Hyundai wanted to use LV and the like of other lux brands, they should've asked permission before making such an obvious copy. I like the new Hyundai vehicles. And Hyundai has done an excellent job in building up their brand reputation... but if they're going to play, they better follow the rules.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think that since the print on the ball is NOT the same as the LV print, it should be allowed. Just being "similar" enough, that it "reminds" you of the LV print shouldn't be a problem IMO.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1) It is not a blatant copy as you can see from the two images. It is a "like" copy to make fun of the notion that what it would be like if everyday people can live the style of luxury...albeit to the extreme (as in parody). You see a yacht in middle of a suburban house, a police officer eating cavier, etc...
        2) They are not competing products or a competing industry (a car vs a handbag)
        3) They are not infringing the product or its logo directly with their own product (i.e., you do not see Hyundai putting LV logo on their cars)
        4) And most importantly...The commercial is obviously a parody and as such Hyundai is protected under the First Amendment. Again, here is the Supreme Court ruling on parody used for commercial use.

        "Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
        Creators of parody may be faced with questions of copyright infringement.

        In this case, rap group 2 Live Crew's song “Pretty Woman,” a parody of Roy Orbison’s rock ballad, “Oh Pretty Woman,” was challenged by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. as an infringement on the company’s copyright on the Orbison tune. The publishing company contended that Campbell had not made fair use of Orbison’s song. They pointed out that Campbell’s version used the original work for commercial purposes and that he had taken too much of the original work.

        Campbell countered that his parody was fair use. The U.S. Supreme Court took the case to determine whether 2 Live Crew’s commercial parody was indeed a fair use. In this 1994 decision, the Supreme Court held that a commercial parody may be a “fair use” in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act, as a defense against an accusation of copyright infringement."

        You can argue all you want -- it won't win in court. Most likely this will be settled out of court as LV knows it doesn't have a real case, but tried anyway because it gains publicity (I now know what a LV logo looks like), and I'm guessing Hyundai would want to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible.
        • 4 Years Ago
        if hyundai using luxury brand's image. It is not apply to this case.
        Hyundai AD does not says, "This car is a Luxury like a Louis Vuitton". they never using this Louis Vuitton word or image in this ad.
        Actually, logo itself is not a LV's trademark.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think a good way to get some perspective on this issue is imagining a commercial that was promoting something negative.

        Let's say Hyundai wanted to show it was evil. It airs a commercial showing satan torturing people, hitler speaking, then people getting slaughtered with machetes. Imagine the machetes have slightly altered LV logos on them. Or maybe behind hitler speaking there are slightly altered Korean flags.

        I expect people wouldn't deem these associations "ok", but whether the association is apparently positive or negative shouldn't matter. Just the fact that there is a false association there is the issue.

        I don't know the specifics of the law, just something I thought about after reading through all this arguing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lawyers are gonna make a lot of cash.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it is a little silly... Remember that focus of this commercial was making luxury available to everyone, so I really don't think Louis Vuitton has much to be offended by having their design (or something that's similar to their design) portrayed as something of a luxury. But then again, Chrysler sued a high school for having their school logo similar to theirs... =P


        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, silly. If anything, LV should be flattered that the Hyundai advertisers saw their pattern as being iconic enough to be instantly recongnizable (if only among the demographic of LV-wannabes that Hyundai was trying to reach).
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not about making luxury availible to everyone. It has nothing to do with that.

        It's about selling the perceived image of luxury to people who are ignorant enough to buy into it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @invisiblepigeon3

        probably, your are only one person who confusing Ball with Car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "But then again, Chrysler sued a high school for having their school logo similar to theirs"

        No, Chrysler sued because the school used their exact, identical, copyrighted logo without permission
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it's funny that Louis Vuitton is so upset about this when every other cheesy chick on the street wears a cheesy fake LV bag. They're so stupidly common that it's hard for me to see how that brand has any real value anymore.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this is another LVM's way of getting the point across to Asian (especially Korean) counterfeiters. That they will sue you for copying anything of theirs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is not a lawsuit about copying, this is a TRADEMARK lawsuit. Does that really have to be explained?
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you look carefully, even that ball's logo is NOT a LV's trademark.

        It is a parody.

        And LV's claim is nonsense.

        If one girl using Louis Vuitton handbag in GM car commerical, it is NOT mean "GM tried to benefit commercially from the fame and renown of the LVM Marks by creating a false association between Louis Vuitton and its automobiles."

        Ball and Car, what is the relation each other?

        only idiot and duimb fvcker believe LV makes sense.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 4 Years Ago
        ken

        The Koreans don't typically counterfeit things like that. S. Korea has a huge legitimate manufacturing economy. They make tons of REAL things. This commercial is obviously done by the US marketing division of Hyundai.

        The Chinese do a lot of counterfeiting, because their communist government doesn't allow them to do anything but undercut and make fake alternatives to real products, however.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is a TRADEMARK lawsuit, not copyright. It has nothing to do with copying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We do think it's a sweet-looking basketball, though, and Louis Vuitton should talk to Hyundai about borrowing that design so they can sell a few $300 $2,300 b-balls..."

      A Monogram canvas LV basketball won't probably last one game... I'll pass (pun).
        • 4 Years Ago
        most real LV bags and crap don't last any longer than a cheap canvas sack anyways. haute couture runs on inflated prices and prestige, not value or quality.
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