Levi’s Ends Lawsuit Against Brunello Cucinelli Over “Infringing” Tabs

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Levi’s Ends Lawsuit Against Brunello Cucinelli Over “Infringing” Tabs

Update (5/8/2024): Levi Strauss & Co. has dismissed its lawsuit against Brunello Cucinelli for “trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition,” according to Business of Fashion.

On Tuesday, the denim brand informed a federal judge in Oakland, California, that it was “dismissing the case with prejudice,” meaning that the claims cannot be brought back to court. Levi’s filed the lawsuit in January, alleging that the Italian designer had “misappropriated LS&Co.’s famous Tab trademark as a symbol for their own apparel products.” Settlement discussions started shortly after the initial filing.

This is not the first time Levi’s has filed trademark-infringing lawsuits over its signature tabs. The company previously settled similar cases with brands including Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo.

Original Story (1/25/2024): Levi Strauss & Co. has filed a lawsuit against Brunello Cucinelli for “trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition” in San Francisco federal court, alleging that the Italian designer label has “misappropriated LS&Co.’s famous Tab trademark as a symbol for their own apparel products.”

The denim giant, founded in California’s Bay Area in 1853, has included a red-toned logo tab on the back pockets of its jeans for the last 88 years. With a trademark filed in 1938, Levi’s has requested the court’s issuing of a preliminary and permanent injunction to bar Cucinelli from creating new designs that feature the allegedly “infringing” tabs.

“Despite repeated attempts to resolve the matter short of litigation, defendant has refused to commit to ceasing use of the Brunello Cucinelli Tab, and now continues to promote and sell these infringing garments, and — on information and belief — increasing [its] production of such garments,” Levi’s wrote in its filing.

In a statement to WWD, Cucinelli himself said that his brand “has always valued the originality of its creations and the integrity of its business practices.” He added that he “wished to clarify that the decorative elements, present on a very limited number of our products, represent a unique ornament, created exclusively for aesthetic purposes. They distinguish themselves as having different length, shape and position on various garments and never incorporate the logo or our brand.”

Cucinelli continued to say that his intention has never been “to exploit or violate the brands or ideas of others” and that he respects “the uniqueness of each brand on the market.” However, he concluded that he believes “there is no risk of confusion for any customer in the world,” in regard to Levi’s suit. “The decoration we use is different in design and purpose and it is evident it is not a logo but an ornamental embellishment,” he said.

Notably, Levi’s originally created the trademarked tab to differentiate its designs from competitors. “LS&Co. began to display the Tab trademark on the rear pocket of its pants in 1936 when its then national sales manager, Leo Christopher Lucier, proposed placing a folded cloth ribbon in the structural seams of the rear pocket,” the lawsuit read.

“The purpose of this ‘tab’ was to provide ‘sight identification’ of LS&Co.’s products,” it continued. “Given the distinctiveness of the Tab trademark, Mr. Lucier asserted that ‘no other maker of overalls can have any other purpose in putting a colored tab on an outside patch pocket, unless for the express and sole purpose of copying our mark and confusing the customer.’”

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