By  on July 23, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — Levi Strauss & Co. has taken Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. to court, alleging the sportswear company illegally copied the jeans maker's trademarked pocket stitching design.

Levi's said in federal court documents here that the stitching, known as an arcuate design, has been legally protected since 1873 and is the oldest known apparel trademark in the country.

Polo Ralph Lauren "has in the past and continues to manufacture, source, market and/or sell clothing that displays stitching designs that are confusingly similar to [Levi Strauss & Co.'s] arcuate trademark," the civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on July 12 reads.

Levi's attorneys also note the denim brand is fighting a pending Polo Ralph Lauren-trademark application for the design in question.

Levi's is seeking compensation for unspecified losses in profits and other damages, as well as a court injunction to stop Polo Ralph Lauren from making any product using an arcuate design that looks like Levi's famous two bowed lines connecting at a point. The lawsuit contained photos of two Lauren pairs of jeans that Levi's is protesting, one distressed with a buckle across the back and another standard five-pocket style with an "RR" logo on the waistband.

Polo Ralph Lauren has 30 days to respond to Levi's complaint. As of Friday, Polo Ralph Lauren attorneys had not been served with the lawsuit, and a spokesman said the company could not comment, as a result.

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