Warner Bros. executives can start their own wolf pack and celebrate now that a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit Louis Vuitton brought against the studio. The suit accused Warner Bros. of infringing on the French fashion house's trademark after knockoff Louis Vuitton handbags were featured in The Hangover Part II.
The whole brouhaha goes back to a quip Zach Galifianakis' character Alan utters in the movie when he warns another character about his handbag: "Be careful, that is a Louis Vuitton."
The fact that the purse in question was a counterfeit made by the Diophy group of companies didn't go over well with the folks at L.V. who argued the line and bag damaged its luxury name and misled consumers.
The company sued the studio last December claiming the rip-off constituted a violation of the Lanham Act that prohibits trademark violations. Louis Vuitton also demanded the studio pay damages in the form of a share of the film's profits.
According to court documents obtained by E! News, after examining the allegations U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter however rebuffed that claim, siding with Warner Bros. that the line spoken by Galifianakis in the flick was intrinsic to the story and the film's comedic style—and therefore protected under the First Amendment.
"Alan's terse remark to Teddy…comes across as funny because he mispronounces the French 'Louis' like the English 'Lewis,' and ironic because he cannot correctly pronounce the brand name of one of his expensive possessions, adding to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character," wrote the judge in a very detailed analysis. "This scene also introduces the comedic tension between Alan and Teddy that appears throughout the Film."
Carter also noted that since audiences were extremely unlikely to be duped into buying the knockoff product since it appears on screen for seconds, there was no confusion between the brands and therefore free speech rights took precedent in this case.
"The Court concludes that Louis Vuitton's allegations of confusion are not plausible, let along 'particularly compelling,'" added Carter.
Warner Bros. gave a statement to E! News saying, "We are very pleased with the court's decision."