15 June 2018Trademarks

Levi Strauss battles Barbour TM bully claim with suit

Jeans maker  Levi Strauss has taken on UK-based luxury brand  Barbour over the use of “tabs” on clothing pockets.

Levi Strauss’s lawsuit, which was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday, June 13, comes after Barbour accused the jeans maker of being a “trademark bully”.

Last week, Barbour accused Levi Strauss of “severe overreaching” in protecting the use of tabs in a complaint filed for declaratory judgment of non-infringement, claiming that Levi Strauss has the “dubious distinction of being one of the world’s biggest trademark ‘bullies’”.

Levi Strauss owns a ‘tab device’ mark, which “consists of a textile marker or other material sewn into one of the regular structural seams of the garment”. The mark is used on Levi Strauss’s jeans and other clothing products.

The jeans maker has taken on numerous companies to protect its “tabs”. In April this year, Levi  sued French luxury fashion house  Kenzo over the use of tabs. One month later, Levi took Italy-based menswear brand  Isaia Corp to court.

In its complaint, Barbour said that it received a cease-and-desist letter from Levi Strauss in May, which alleged that all garments with the Barbour flag were infringing products and that Barbour should stop selling these garments on a worldwide basis within ten days.

The Barbour flag is a piece of fabric bearing the Barbour name and is typically affixed to the seam of the pocket of the garment.

According to Barbour: “[Levi Strauss] has a well-deserved reputation as a trademark ‘bully’,” having filed more than 300 trademark lawsuits since 1989. It is infamous for suing companies over the ‘pocket tab’, the ‘arcuate’ stitching, and the leather patch, in which it claims to own rights.”

Levi Strauss, in its own complaint, said that Barbour’s actions are causing irreparable harm for which money damages and other remedies are inadequate, so the court needs to enjoin Barbour.

“Although Barbour admits that it has been selling products which infringe Levi Strauss’s ‘Tab’ trademark for more than a decade in its recently filed anticipatory complaint for declaratory judgment … Levi Strauss’s first learned of Barbour’s infringing design recently,” said the jeans maker.

The jeans maker is seeking an injunction which would stop Barbour from making goods featuring the Barbour flag, damages and profits.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories

Law firms raise concerns over EPO patent quality

Hong Kong customs seizes $2m of fake FIFA World Cup goods

Irish distillery successfully opposes brewery’s TM application

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

13 June 2018   UK-based luxury brand Barbour has called out jeans maker Levi Strauss over its “severe overreaching” in protecting the use of tabs on the back pocket of trousers.
21 September 2018   US fashion brand Levi Strauss has taken on unknown entities for alleged trademark infringement and selling counterfeit products.
19 November 2018   Clothing brand Levi Strauss has accused Yves Saint Laurent of undertaking the “illegal activities” of trademark infringement and dilution, in a lawsuit centring on Levi Strauss’s famous ‘Tab device’ mark.