When I think luxury, I think of Louis Vuitton. It is one of the most recognized brands in the world, from its French name that feels exquisite just saying it to its iconic monogrammed logo. As one of the world’s most powerful luxury brands, Louis Vuitton carefully curates its activities and undertakings in order to ensure that its name continues to stay as elite as it currently is.
Well, sort of.
So where am I going with this? It seems as though world-renowned, world-class brand Louis Vuitton got personal with a South Korean fried chicken store. I cannot even imagine that the people at Louis Vuitton even eat fried chicken. It’s too much of a commoners’ food.
This fried chicken shop is called LOUISVUI TON DAK, a play on words from the word “tongdak,” which is Korean for “whole chicken.” Over the use of both its logo and name, according to Vogue, Louis Vuitton alleged that the fried chicken shop damaged the “‘originality and value’ of the Vuitton brand.”
The Korea Times reported that the French fashion house won the district court ruling last week that was held in Seoul. Through the ruling, the owner of LOUISVUI TON DAK is banned from operating his venture under that name. He is forced to change his napkins and food wrappers as well, as they have printed on them a logo similar to that of Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton went to court in September 2015 with the “Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act” violation, citing that the owner of the fried chicken shop was hurting the company’s image by operating under the name of LOUISVUI TON DAK.
The owner did change the name of business following the court order, Mashable reported. The new name? chaLOUISVUI TONDAK. Louis Vuitton was not happy. According to Vogue, the court released a statement saying, “Although he changed the name with different spacing, the two names sound almost the same. So he violated the court order and should pay the money.”
And, indeed, the owner did pay the money. The Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of Louis Vuitton for the second time this week, according to Mashable, this time forcing the owner of the luxury fried chicken brand to pay a fine of 14.5 million won (approximately $12,750).
Louis Vuitton put its foot down. No fried chicken shop on this planet will operate under a name vaguely similar to that of Louis Vuitton. Not while the brand is still alive and millions of knockoff products are produced and sold each year. Not a chance.
In all honestly, I thought the Korean fried chicken shop’s name was cheeky and clever. As a native Korean speaker, I found it funny. More importantly, I found it harmless. It is astounding to me that a multi-billion-dollar company had the time to seek out this fried chicken shop that, more likely than not, is operated by a harmless middle-aged Korean man just trying to make some money to support himself.
How did the brand even find this store? There are so many fried chicken businesses in Seoul, let alone its surrounding areas. I guess now we know what the brand is doing with all of its time and resources. If only it would channel that kind of energy into its products, just so we’re not seeing the same Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 on every other woman on the street. But I guess it would be foolish of me to hold a been-there-done-that, has-been brand to the same standards as, say, Bottega Veneta.
So remember — be careful what you name your next business venture. You might have Michael Kors coming after you.