A small fabric tab is causing big trouble for French fashion brand Coperni. The company has been sued by denim stalwart Levi Strauss & Co. for infringing on its trademarked tab label, as well as pocket stitching design.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the small white fabric logo tabs Coperni added to the back pocket of its denim pants and front pocket of button-up shirts are confusingly similar to the tabs Levi’s products bear. Levi Strauss registered a trademark for the tab in 1938, which has previously served as part of its corporate logo and on retail signage.
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Levi’s also called out Coperni for using pocket stitching trademarked as “Arcuate” on its products. The stitching pattern, which has two curved, double-line stitches meeting in a point at the center of the pocket, was adopted by Levi’s in 1873 and registered in 1943.
Coperni, which is known for distinctive designs such as open-knee jeans with the unzipped waistline of a second pair of jeans creating the knee holes, also drew the ire of Levi’s for “reworked” products that it says are “likely to confuse consumers about the source of Coperni’s products and/or a relationship between Coperni and Levis Strauss & Co.” Products in question include a miniskirt made from Levi’s jeans and trousers that include flair made with the waist and thigh portions of Levi’s. The description for the latter on Coperni’s website includes no mention of Levi’s jeans being used to create the pants.
“Coperni’s actions have caused and will cause Levi Strauss & Co. irreparable harm for which money damages and other remedies are inadequate,” the suit said. “Unless Coperni is restrained preliminarily and permanently 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 & Co.”
Coperni isn’t the first company sued by Levi’s over tab trademarks. The company has previously filed trademark infringement suits agains shorts-maker Hammies, luxury fashion house Saint Laurent and recycled denim brand Green Tab over their use of tab labels.
The Levi’s/Coperni lawsuit comes on the heels of a judge’s award of $11.8 million in damages to fellow denim maker Diesel. The company sued reality stars Dave Sparks and Dave Kiley of the Discovery Channel reality series “Diesel Brothers” over their use of Diesel’s trademark on apparel and other branding for their Diesel Power Gear line.