LEVI’S SUIT CHARGES KARL KANI WITH TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

NEW YORK — Levi Strauss & Co. earlier this month filed a complaint against Karl Kani Infinity Inc., charging that the urban sportswear company used a pocket stitching design on its women’s denim jeans that infringed on the Levi’s trademark.
San Fran-cisco-based Levi’s filed its lawsuit in federal district court in Oak-land, Cal., on May 15. The suit, which charges trademark infringement and unfair competition, is seeking unspecified punitive damages and injunctive relief to bar the sportswear company from manufacturing jeans that allegedly infringe on the Levi trademark.
Karl Kani pointed out that the jeans in question is the designer’s basic women’s jeans featuring a rhinestone Karl Kani logo across the seat.
The complaint specified that Levi’s is the owner of an “arcuate stitching design” trademark that the firm has used continuously since 1873. It described the offending Karl Kani pocket stitching design as one that “starts on the side seams of the pocket and curves downward toward the center of the pocket.” Levi’s said that the “commercial impression and visual appearance of the Karl Kani pocket stitching design+ are highly similar to the impression and appearance created” by Levi’s arcuate trademark. Levi’s added that it has suffered “irreparable harm” because Karl Kani has obtained “substantial profits” from its sale of thousands of pairs of the jeans.
A spokeswoman for Karl Kani responded: “Karl Kani is a visionary designer who single-handedly pioneered the urban market 10 years ago. He has worked very hard to differentiate himself from anything that had been on the market before and this is what has made him a success. To insinuate that he has copied any product from any other line is preposterous.”