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Levi’s Reportedly Reaches Settlement with Yves Saint Laurent Over Iconic Red Tabs

Once called a “bully” for the legal action it takes to protect its patented red tab, Levi Strauss & Co. has, again, settled a lawsuit out of court regarding the use of a similarly designed mark, this time with legendary fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent.

In November, Levi’s filed a suit with a California federal court naming Yves Saint Laurent a patent infringer. In the suit, the denim brand asked the court for monetary damages, all profits related to the sale of the infringing products and “a complete list of individuals and entities from whom or which it purchased, and to whom or which it sold, offered for sale, distributed, advertised, or promoted, infringing products as alleged.”

Naturally, Yves Saint Laurent fought the suit in court over the months that followed, arguing that its particular tab was not covered under Levi’s patent protections as  “consumers regularly encounter decorative pocket ornaments sold by a large number of third party users, all of [which] are apparently able to coexist with Levi Strauss’ tab trademark in the marketplace.”

Levi's and Yves Saint Laurent settled a suit regarding its use a similar tab
Yves Saint Laurent tabs came unmarked and in black, a differentiating factor according to the brand’s attorneys. Yves Saint Laurent

The claim ran counter to Levi’s assertion that the use of a similar tab would be “likely to confuse consumers about the source of [its] products” and would possibly suggest that the brands had been involved in a collaboration, something currently very common in the industry. Yves Saint Laurent responded by listing the steep price points that accompany its denim, with some pairs being sold for more than $2,500, arguing that a typical consumer of either brand would be unlikely to mistake the two products.

The back-and-forth, however, seems to have come to an abrupt end. As reported by the World IP Review, Levi’s and Yves Saint Laurent filed a joint motion to dismiss the suit without prejudice on Tuesday. As the suit was settled out of court, there is no official record of what type of settlement was reached between the brands.

However, as it was not dismissed with prejudice—likely a condition of the settlement, Levi’s legal team could feasibly refile its lawsuit should the terms of any agreement reached by the two parties be breached.

This was just one of many lawsuits that Levi’s has filed regarding the numerous patents it owns protecting the little tab. Recently, the iconic denim brand has been the plaintiff in patent infringement lawsuits against Kenzo, Vineyard Vines and 3×1.