Levi Strauss & Co.’s trademark red, blue or white tab has led it to bring a legal action against Yves Saint Laurent America, the America segment of the Parisian fashion house.
According to the court documents, the tab has become a distinctive feature that distinguishes Levi’s products from those of other companies.
Levi filed the case in U.S. District Court in Northern California alleging that a similar tab included on YSL pants is an infringement of the brand’s tab feature for which Levi has owned rights for decades. Appearing for the first time in 1936 on the company’s overalls, the tab has become an important component of the brand’s identity.
The complaint includes that the YSL products caused “trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution”. The court documents submitted showed potential confusion for customers who recognize the tab on YSL products as a Levi’s feature, which could result in incorrect assumptions by consumers regarding the relationship between the two apparel makers.
This will result in blurring the lines between products of the two companies and infringement in the future by other designers or manufacturers. Levi’s complained that if YSL is allowed to continue manufacturing its products with the feature and profit from the sale of goods that include the tab, the other manufacturers will view this as a green light to infringe upon this feature of Levi’s.
Levi Strauss & Co. is requesting that the court consider the violation and take steps to prohibit YSL from using the tab, which has been described as “willfulness, wantonness, malice, and deliberate disregard to LS&Co’s rights and welfare.”
Levi Strauss is also suing for restitution and the return of the gains earned on the selling of the YSL goods in dispute.