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Levi Strauss trademark litigation: it’s all in the jeans

Levi Strauss has brought proceedings against French fashion house Kenzo for trademark infringement in the US. The allegation is that Kenzo is infringing upon the famous “tab device” sewn on to the side of pockets: seen above in red on the side of a rear jeans pocket.

Levi Strauss allege that Kenzo’s use of the pocket tab causes confusion in the minds of the public as to the origin of products of both companies, and causes the public to incorrectly associate the two. The claim is for injunctive relief, delivery up of the infringing articles, details of entities that have purchased the infringing articles, lost profits (known in the England and Wales as an account of profits) and punitive damages. Punitive damages is a remedy not available in the UK, that is used by US courts to punish infringers with the hope of disincentivising would-be copycats in the future.

Levi Strauss is claiming that the goodwill in their brand is being diluted, as is its ability to differentiate its products in the marketplace by application of the tab device. The company last year brought proceedings against Vineyard Vines, a Connecticut based company, over infringement of the same trademark. That litigation is ongoing.

We wait to see whether Kenzo will defend the claim, attempt to invalidate the trademark, or seek to settle the matter.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.