MarkIt to Market® - November 2019: Brand News on the Street

Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.
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Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.

On November 25, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the world’s biggest luxury goods group and home to 75 high-end brands, announced that it will buy Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion. Tiffany, the American jeweler established in 1837 and known for its diamond and sterling silver jewelry tucked in iconic blue boxes, will give Paris-based LVMH a larger presence here in the United States, where its jewelry and watch division presently accounts for only about 9% of the company’s total revenue. 

In discussing the acquisition, Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive, reportedly said that Tiffany was particularly enticing because “[i]t’s the only brand I know that owns a color.”[2] While there are certainly other brands claiming trademark rights in a color (Owens Corning and the color pink for insulation, for one), Mr. Arnault’s comment nevertheless underscores how trademarks, particularly color trademarks, are recognizable and have value not only to consumers gazing at sparkling objects through windows along 5th Avenue, but also to investors considering a company’s entire asset portfolio. If you’re looking to distinguish your brand from the rest of the pack, in the eyes of consumers and the investing community alike, establishing trademark rights in a color may be worth considering.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/25/investing/tiffany-lvmh-acquisition/index.html
[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/business/lvmh-tiffany-deal.html

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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