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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Abercrombie Gets Re-Sued Over Stitching

Right: A pair of Levi Strauss jeans; left: a pair of A&F womens jeans.
The SF Appeal reports that a legal battle between Levi Strauss & Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch is back on. The San Fransisco 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned on 8 February 2011 a 2009 ruling over the lawsuit by Levi Strauss over A&F. The lawsuit (filed in 2007) deals with the fact that Levi Strauss believes A&F has "weakened the value of the trademark arch pattern on the back pocket of Levi's blue jeans." According to Levi Strauss, the back stitching of A&F's jeans for women implements a similar version of the Levi's signature stitching. To that effect, Levi Strauss conducted survey in which 30% of its participants said that they though both jeans were made by the same company. A&F fired back by calling the whole thing flawed. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White concluded, in 2009, that Levi Strauss had not proven that the designs were identical or near identical and ruled in A&F's favor. But now a panel of judges have brought into light the "correct standard" of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act which says that the trademarks don't have to be identical or near-identical but similar and resulting in blurring recognition by the consumer.

First off, the whole thing sounds like a completely pathetic attempt by Levi Strauss to bring down any form of competition. And at first, the "similarity" is not noticeable. But after careful study and some serious mental visualization, it can be seen why Levi has a pursued this. Look at the back stitching of a pair of Levi's jeans. Pretend that there is a hinge on the point were the two arches meet. Now swing the right arch over to the left so that the two overlap...now do you see the "similarity" with Abercrombie's womens jeans? But you have to use a lot of imagination and do a lot of visual movement to finally make out the Abercrombie pattern truly similar to the Levi's pattern in your mind.

Does that matter? Hollister's bettys jeans also make use of arches in the back pocket stitching. Does that mean the Levi Strauss is going to sue Abercrombie & Fitch for placing the Levi's arches triumvir-style on either side of each HCo. pocket, too? If Levi Strauss wants to play like that, then Abercrombie & Fitch should sue in return for the use of A&F's signature gray and white on levistrauss.com! Hell, why don't we all find stupid similarities between one another and sue the hell out of each other for our unique rights!?! Just saying...