Levi Strauss accuses YSL of trademark infringement

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Clothing brand Levi Strauss has accused Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) of undertaking the “illegal activities” of trademark infringement and dilution, in a lawsuit centring on Levi Strauss’s famous ‘Tab device’ mark.

The complaint, filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, November 16, accused the French fashion house of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.

Levi Strauss’s distinctive ‘Tab device’ trademark has been used in commerce since 1936 (and was registered in 1949 as US trademark number 516,561). It now provides a “‘sight identification’ of Levi Strauss’s products”, according to the complaint.

The device itself is comprised of a marker made out of textile (or other material), which is then sewn into one of the seams of garments such as jeans, jackets, and shirts.
“Beginning at some time in the past and continuing until the present, YSL has manufactured, promoted, and sold garments that infringe and dilute Levi Strauss’s trademarks,” the suit said.

The French fashion house has allegedly made and sold jeans with “highly similar” pocket tab devices to that of Levi Strauss’s protected trademark, meaning that consumers are likely to be confused.

Images embedded in the suit show the pockets of YSL-branded black and blue jeans with tabs.

“Unless YSL is restrained by this court, it will continue and/or expand its illegal activities and otherwise continue to cause great and irreparable damage and injury to Levi Strauss,” claimed Levi Strauss.

YSL’s actions are allegedly causing Levi Strauss to “lose sales of its genuine clothing products”, as well as causing others to believe that the distinctive features of the ‘Tab device’ trademark may be misappropriated for third-party use.

Levi Strauss has asked the court for triple damages, YSL’s profits deriving from sales of the disputed products, and attorneys’ fees, in addition to injunctive relief and the destruction of any infringing items and promotional material.

Levi Strauss is a keen defender of its IP, particularly when it comes to its ‘Tab device’ trademark.

In October, the fashion brand took on e-commerce outlet Rip N Dip in a trademark infringement complaint centring on tabs.

Levi Strauss has not shied away from trademark battles with other big brands, either. In June, it sued luxury brand Barbour over the use of ‘tabs’ on clothing pockets, following Barbour’s accusation that Levi Strauss is a “trademark bully”.

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