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News blog1 March 20232 min read

Joan Mitchell Foundation vs Vuitton – Eminem vs Real Housewives



The Joan Mitchell Foundation, representing the interests and legacy of the famous painter, issued last week a cease-and-desist letter demanding that Louis Vuitton withdraw its latest advertising campaign.

The campaign stars actress Léa Seydoux, posing with Vuitton handbags in front of some of Joan Mitchell’s paintings. The paintings in question are currently being displayed… at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, in the framework of an exhibition establishing a dialogue between Claude Monet’s and Joan Mitchell’s works. It is not the first time that Vuitton launches a campaign with Seydoux modelling handbags in front of works that are currently on display at its gallery. However, just because the Fondation Vuitton is exhibiting the artworks does not mean that Vuitton – the company – has a general right to use them in its advertising activities.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is in essence accusing Louis Vuitton of having reproduced Mitchell’s works in this ad campaign without authorisation, and insists that it has never agreed to Vuitton reproducing the works for advertising purposes, in accordance with its usual policy privileging educational uses of the artist’s works. According to the Foundation, Vuitton did issue a request for authorisation last December, and later insisted when faced with the Foundation’s repeated refusals, until it decided to go ahead anyway and launched the campaign in February, in print and online.

It remains to be seen how the French luxury giant reacts to the Foundation’s demands – however, French media have already noted that all traces of the campaign seem to have disappeared from Vuitton’s social media feeds.

We will keep you posted in case further developments occur in this case!



Trade marks are not just for companies – artists and in particular singers rely on them to protect their names and reputation – the “persona” that they showcase to the public. The latest example of this was reported last week in several US entertainment outlets: rapper Eminem filed an opposition to a trade mark application filed at the USPTO by two Real Housewives stars.

The Real Housewives had filed a trade mark application for the terms “Reasonably Shady”, the name of their podcast, to be used for entertainment services and merchandising products.

Eminem opposed the registration, being the holder of the trade marks “Shady” and “Slim Shady” for over twenty years, covering inter alia touring, records, and merchandising. The rapper is alleging a risk of confusion and damage to his reputation to prevent the Real Housewives from registering their new mark. The applicants now have 40 days to respond to the opposition, and their lawyer has already confirmed that they will fight it, as they deny any risk of confusion.



Publication date
1 March 2023