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Levi’s Sues Kenzo for Tabs on Jeans Pockets

Levi’s is keeping tabs on one of its signatures—the red tab—and it’s going after Kenzo for using something similar.

The San Francisco-based denim company is accusing French label Kenzo of trademark infringement for using tabs on its jean pockets.

According to Reuters, the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco said Kenzo’s activities threaten to cause Levi’s to lose sales and suffer “incalculable and irreparable damage” to its goodwill, not to mention confuse shoppers.

With much fanfare, Kenzo launched its La Collection Memento N°2 last month, a denim-focused collection with Britney Spears. The jeans feature a white tab on the back pockets. The collection also uses a red patch with Kenzo’s name and signature “Bamboo Tiger” across the front of denim fanny packs, T-shirts, sweatshirts and on the front of denim jackets and jeans.

Since 1936, Levi’s has used a branded red tab in the seams of its jean pockets as way to provide “sight identification” for its products, Reuters reported. Jeans made before 1971 are distinguished by a tab with a capitalized E, while contemporary versions feature a lowercase E.

Looking to protect its branding, Levi’s sent cease-and-desist letters to Kenzo requesting that the LVMH company stop selling items with the pocket tabs, but according to Levi’s, Kenzo has not yet addressed the letters. Levi’s is seeking to recoup lost profits, compensatory and punitive damages, and to halt further infringements.

Levi’s has a reputation for working to protecting its brand identity. In 2007, The New York Times described Levi’s as “the most litigious in the apparel industry when it comes to trademark infringement lawsuits.” In October 2017, the company filed a lawsuit against sued Vineyard Vines over a small tab sewn on the back pocket of its jeans.