Who thought a small piece of red cloth would be at the centre of a legal battle?
Well Levi Strauss & Co goes way back to 1853 and is one of the world’s largest apparel companies and global leader in jeans, so there is no surprise that Levi’s took action when it found a Swiss Firm, Colloseum Holdings breaching its trade mark rights in a small patch of red cloth stitched into the seam of a rear trouser pocket on its jeans.
Levi’s believed that the red cloth was recognised by consumers as part of their “Red Tab” jeans collection and would still be recognised as the “Red Tab” collection even without the LEVI’S brand label printed on it. However, Colloseum argued that using their own red label with their company name imbedded in it would prevent any risk of confusion. The European Court of Justice concluded that the red tab could be viewed as an integral part of the Levi’s brand.
This case is a key example for companies trying to protect the distinctive shape of their packaging or the distinctive elements of their brands.
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