A small piece of fabric is at the centre of a legal battle between the denim giant Levi Strauss & Co. and Coperni, a French fashion brand known for its avant-garde aesthetic and innovative designs. Levi's has filed a lawsuit against Coperni in California, accusing it of trade mark infringement by selling Levi's products that have been "reworked" without the American brand's permission.
The lawsuit is based on two main points:
Firstly, Levi Strauss & Co alleges that Copernis has infringed its iconic trade mark and distinctive pocket stitching design on its denim products. They consider Coperni's white fabric tab with added logo on the pockets of their jeans and button-up shirts to be "confusingly similar".
Levi Strauss & Co. has a long history of being very protective of its trade mark, having registered the iconic tab in 1938, which has become an integral part of its corporate and retail image. The company argues that the addition of similar labels by Coperni could cause confusion among consumers, who could interpret these products as licensed or part of a collaboration between both brands.
Secondly, they have pointed out that Coperni markets Levi's products that have been "reworked" without the brand's consent, retaining the trade marked "arcuate" (i.e. shaped like a bow) pocket stitching and the "Levi's" name. Specifically, these are skirts made from Levi's jeans and trousers that incorporate the Levi's waist and thigh style.
It is worth noting that Coperni is not the first company to be sued by Levi Strauss & Co over the fabric tab. Last year, the Hammies brand, based in San Francisco, faced a similar action. At the same time, an Australian entrepreneur was sued on the grounds that products made for the Green Tab and truckerjacket.com brands also infringed his registered "tab" trade mark. Even high-profile brands such as Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo have been involved in legal disputes with Levi Strauss & Co in the past.