The New York City morning commute is entertaining—a prelude to the workday ahead and a topic for office conversation. The morning commute to my internship this summer was especially entertaining as it involved a game of sorts. From Bowling Green to 59th Street, I would scan my crammed train car until I found what I was looking for. Then, almost instinctively, I would zone in and mentally tick my checklist: Alignment? Check. Stitching? Off. Coloring? Not even close. Fake? Without a doubt. Some stops and countless handbags later, my game of surveying the counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags on the 4 train would come to an end and I would make my way to Madison Avenue, where an exchange of commute counterfeit sightings would fuel the morning office conversation in Louis Vuitton’s Intellectual Property Department.
Louis Vuitton is one of world’s most counterfeited luxury brands. The Toile Monogram—Louis Vuitton’s signature pattern of interlocking “LV” logos and flowers—is an iconic fashion symbol that has inspired millions of knockoff handbags in the marketplace. In turn, there has been a growing need for Louis Vuitton to protect its valuable, registered trademarks against counterfeiters worldwide.
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern on the Civil Enforcement Team in the Intellectual Property Department at Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton’s Intellectual Property Department is tasked with developing and maintaining Intellectual Property strategies, both criminal and civil, to protect and enforce the brand’s globally recognized trademarks. On a daily basis, I engaged with attorneys in my office as they worked to resolve various Intellectual Property issues concerning counterfeits and infringements. Additionally, I expanded my focus internationally and worked on trademark and copyright matters for other LVMH fashion brands with headquarters across the globe, including Christian Dior and Céline. One of the best aspects of my internship was assisting in drafting a response to a USPTO office action against a pending Céline trademark application.
My summer internship at Louis Vuitton was incomparable and gave me a comprehensive introduction to the dynamic field of Intellectual Property. I look forward to using my experience as a platform in the year ahead to further explore anti-counterfeiting and Intellectual Property issues in my classes. And while I may no longer have my New York City morning train ride to survey for counterfeits, I will continue to keep my eyes peeled for knockoffs in Washington, D.C. on my daily commute to GW Law.