Classic American denim brand Levi Strauss believes that tabs on Yves Saint Laurent jean pockets look too similar to its own. Levi’s is suing the American branch of Yves Saint Laurent over alleged trademark infringement.
Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Levi’s brand would recognize the small red or white tabs stitched into the right seam of the jeans’ back pocket with the brand name embroidered into it as an iconic feature of the brand’s style.
In its lawsuit, filed within the Northern District of California, Levi’s has requested an injunction to prevent YSL from producing and selling denim with the pocket tabs in question. If the court were to rule in favor of Levi’s, that would mean that the denim brand has a trademark on all tabs sewn onto jeans.
Levi’s has claimed that YSL is profiting from sales of a denim feature it had made popular, and is therefore “causing incalculable and irreparable damage to Levi’s goodwill and diluting the capacity of its tab trademark to differentiation Levi’s products from others.” However, it is important to note that Levi’s and YLS operate in very different sectors of the denim market. Levi’s targets a broader consumer base with a price range that averages between 50 to 150 dollars for a pair of quality denim, while YSL caters to the luxury market with pricing of a pair of jeans typically between 300 and 600 dollars.
Most trademark infringement cases argue that the infringing party is taking sales from the accusing party; yet the consumers who frequent each brand in this case would seldom shop from the other brand. Still, Levi’s accused YSL of having “wantonness, malice, and conscious indifference to the rights and welfares of [Levi’s].”