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Seven to Appeal Court Ruling

LOS ANGELES — Ending weeks of frenzied speculation about a trademark snafu with hot denim brand Seven, the label’s co-owner Peter Koral confirmed the company is appealing a trademark infringement judgement handed down by a French court...

LOS ANGELES — Ending weeks of frenzied speculation about a trademark snafu with hot denim brand Seven, the label’s co-owner Peter Koral confirmed the company is appealing a trademark infringement judgement handed down by a French court against a retailer carrying its product.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the combination numeral and word trademark 7Seven is registered to an Italian corporation, Seven SpA Corp., which owns the rights to produce men’s and women’s jeans under the 7Seven label in the U.S. A representative of that mark sued French retailer Paul and Joe, claiming the shop’s Seven jeans were actually counterfeit 7Seven merchandise.

Koral said the 7Seven product “doesn’t look remotely like ours,” and said his company, popularly known as Seven Jeans, is attempting to trademark “Seven For All Mankind.” That phrase appears scrawled inside the jeans’ waistband, while the word Seven and numeral 7 appear more prominently — on the back pocket and outside waistband, respectively, of Koral’s product.

Koral said he’s appealing the judgement against Paul and Joe in order to protect future jeans business in France. “Our lawyers tell us we’re going to prevail, hands down,” he said.

Ironically, Koral said Gerard Guez, chairman of publicly traded denim firm Tarrant Apparel Group, approached him recently claiming to have purchased the firm that owns the 7Seven mark.

“Gerard Guez has stepped into the picture and now he wants a piece of our business,” Koral said. “We’ve been asking him to show us proof of what he has, but he hasn’t disclosed anything, or supplied any documentation.”

Guez could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Reached earlier regarding rumors of his pursuit of a stake in the U.S. business based on owning the 7Seven mark, he declined to comment.

Koral said his brand will ship nearly $70 million by yearend, and that the company has no intention of changing its product, labeling or in-store presentations.

“If they think 7Seven can take them wherever they want to go, I wish them all the luck,” Koral said.

This story first appeared in the August 15, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.