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Levi Strauss and Abercrombie Fitch Butt Heads Over Back Pocket Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Television, Trademarks

On Monday, Karen blogged about her favorite 80’s trademark, the Guess Jeans logo. Many of you will also remember the famous Brooke Shields Ad where she uttered “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”  Jeans are big money in the United States with a market of approximately $51.75 billion in 2008 (according to the 3B Bharat Book Bureau website). Popular Jeans are often distinguished by their back pocket and such designs are often trademarked. 

Levi Strauss & Co. (“Levi”) often sues competitors for infringing their famous trademark of the back pocket design that they have been using for over one hundred and thirty years.

Levis Back Pocket

Unfortunately for Levi Strauss & Co., a California jury did not find the back pocket of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Ruehl brand jeans to infringe on Levi’s trademark. The jury did not find the two back pockets to be confusingly similar. District Court Judge White apparently agreed and denied Levi’s motion for a judgment as a matter of law that would overturn the jury’s verdict. This defeat will likely not stop Levi from aggressively suing other jean manufacturers to protect its trademark as it has in the past (filing lawsuits against Polo Ralph Lauren, Japanese companies Sugarcane, Samurai and Studio D’Artisian to name a few).

  • Karen Opp

    Looking at the 2 designs side by side, the jury was correct. They are not confusingly similar. I am surprised Levi Strauss took the suit all the way to trial.