Trying to make your brand stand out in the fashion industry can be rather difficult sometimes…even for the big boys including worldwide denim brand Levis.
Levis Strauss & Co. are famously known for their pocketed little red, white or blue tab that bears the Levi’s name on it. Last week, Levis filed a new law suit in a California federal court against the American branch of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) alleging that it has “manufactured, promoted and sold garments that infringe Levi’s trade marks”.
YSL are going to be selling jeans with a tab on the back pocket of their jeans but it will be YSL branded. Levi’s alleges that YSL are not only profiting from the sales of the jeans in question but also “causing incalculable and irreparable damage to Levi’s goodwill and diluting the capacity of its tab trademark to differentiate Levi’s products from others.” Therefore, Levi’s are seeking an injunction to try and stop YSL from making and selling the goods in question as well as seeking a high level of damages because of alleged wilful nature of the infringement.
In order to succeed in the trade mark infringement claim, Levi’s will have to show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion. Levi’s alleges that YSL’s products are likely to confuse consumers about the source of YSL’s products and even potentially that there was a collaboration or sponsorship between YSL and Levi’s. The YSL jeans however are going to be sold at a much higher price point and in different markets, therefore the question of confusion is somewhat questionable.
Levi’s are known for bringing many lawsuits to protect its most valuable trade mark. Only in June this year did they issue proceedings against the British brand Barbour for trade mark infringement.
The question is whether in reality Levi’s own a Trade Mark on all tabs, on all jeans?
Written by Noyemie Sahakian