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Levi’s Sues Japanese Denim Brands

Levi’s Sues Japanese Denim Brands


Last week I wrote about an article in the San Franciso Chronicle concerning the rise of Japanese selvage denim. It seems like Levi’s must have also read the same article as they have set their lawyers on the companies that were mentioned. Japanese denim brands such as Sugarcane, Samurai and Studio D’Artisan, along with American retailers such as Self Edge in San Franciso are being sued for trademark infringement. Levi’s are not happy that the jeans made by those brands resemble classic Levi’s from the 40s, 50s and 60s and have demanded that all sales are to be stopped by Friday, January 19, 2007. Specifically the lawsuit says:

  • There are to be NO tabs attatched between two pieces of fabric on the rear pockets.
  • The cards hanging out of the back pocket, stapled to the pocket, must not look anything like vintage/modern Levi’s Info Cards.
  • Arcuates on the rear pockets must not resemble the Levi’s arcuate in ANY way shape or form,
  • Rear leather patch cannot contain an image of two moving objects (horses, motorcylcles, pigs, etc..) pulling apart a pair of jeans.

You cannot deny that there is a very strong similarity between Levi’s leather patches (see above), pocket designs and tabs and the Japanese ones (see below), but it is quite a shock to find an entire genre of clothing banned from sale. Apparently the Japanese manufacturers are already redesigning their jeans to alter or remove the offending elements and the new jeans should be available in a month of two.

Studio D’Artisan Jeans Patch

Ironheart Jeans Patch