Imitators Pain In The Ass For Levi’s

The New York Times lists the most litigious U.S. companies of the decade. Microsoft is king, followed by Cendant, Altria/Phillip Morris, Best Western, Dunkin’ Donuts, Lorillard Tobacco, Levi Strauss, Baskin-Robbins, Chanel and Nike.
The story looks closely at one of the most iconic brands in American history–Levi Strauss–and the trouble the privately-held San Francisco company has maintaining the integrity of its classic butterfly mark.

United States Patent and Trademark No. 1,139,254 is not much to look at: a pentagon surrounding a childlike drawing of a seagull in flight.
But the design for a Levi’s pocket, first used 133 years ago, has become the biggest legal battleground in American fashion.
Levi Strauss claims that legions of competitors have stolen its signature denim stitches — two intersecting arcs and a cloth label — for their own pockets, slapping them on the seats of high-priced, hip-hugging jeans that have soared in popularity.
So Levi’s is becoming a leader in a new arena: lawsuits. The company has emerged as the most litigious in the apparel industry when it comes to trademark infringement lawsuits, firing off nearly 100 against its competitors since 2001.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Is filing suit a credible and relatively cost effective way to get PR and remind us that Levi Strauss & Co. made the original blue jeans?
    The blogoshphere says yes?
    Would anyone ever confuse Levi’s brand with another?
    Might Levi’s create greater value paying designers to think up new jeans that better compete with their old design.
    Well Yes, but I’m a designer not a lawyer.