By  on August 30, 2007

NEW YORK — Levi Strauss & Co. is aggressively defending its trademarks no matter how small the perceived threat.

The San Francisco-based denim giant filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Aug. 20 against Brooklyn-based Lips Jeans.

According to court documents, Levi's alleged Lips infringed on its trademark of the colored ribbon tab sewn into the pocket of the company's jeans. Levi's alleged a tab used by Lips is confusingly similar to its own.

"We received a cease-and-desist and removed the tag in question from fall shipments and all designs going forward," said Dan Donahue, who founded the brand with Loren Cronk, in an e-mail response. "We feel it is an honor to be recognized by the legendary Levi Strauss. Lips loves you Levi's. We always have and we always will."

Lips launched a line of Seventies-inspired high-waisted jeans last fall. The collection is available in 30 stores, retailing for between $149 and $200.

The complaint against the fledgling jeans brand included claims of federal and state trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution. Levi's asked the court for an injunction, damages and trial costs. Levi's also asked that Lips be required to hand over its entire inventory of allegedly infringing products.

Separately, Levi's filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Chapter 4 Corp., which does business as Supreme, in San Francisco federal court on Aug. 14. Levi's alleged Supreme sold jeans that infringed on its tab trademark.

"Supreme has been using the same Red Box logo label for over 15 years on many of the garments we produce (Ts, sweats, outerwear, hats, sneakers, etc.)," said James Jebbia, owner of Supreme, in a statement to WWD. "We had no idea by sewing our label on the back pocket of our jeans that we were infringing on a Levi's trademark. We assumed that it was no different than when we apply it on the pocket of a shirt or jacket (which we do). There was no intention on our behalf to mislead or confuse the consumer into thinking they were purchasing a Levi's product, nor do we feel that this is the case. Hopefully, this matter can be resolved amicably."Levi's lawsuit included allegations of federal and state trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution. The company asked the court for an injunction, damages, trial costs and for Chapter 4's allegedly infringing products to be turned over.

These cases follow a string of other lawsuits filed earlier this summer. In July, Levi's filed two other lawsuits in San Francisco federal court against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. Both lawsuits alleged the defendants infringed on Levi's trademarked back-pocket stitching.

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