On September 2019, Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court (GIPC) issued an important judgment on the case involving a dispute between LEVI STRAUSS &CO., and Guangzhou Lifeng Textile Company, Ltd. over the infringement of Levi's trademark consisting of double arcs.
Started in 2017, when the American Company found the LEVI STRAUSS arcuate design on two pockets at the back of jeans sold by an online store on the TMALL, in 2019 the Levi's case finally received its happy conclusion.
Clearly, the defendant did not convince the Court that he had not intended to infringe the registered trademark of LEVI STRAUSS as it didn't know that the arcuate design has been registered.
Hard to believe, let's say!
Indeed, the said defense was not the best claim to take, considering that arcuate design is certainly the most important feature of the Levi's Jeans, which has been used in the back pockets since the production of its very first jeans in 1873.
Without any doubts, Levi's is an American clothing brand known worldwide for its jeans, founded more than 150 years ago by a German immigrant which rapidly became one of the pioneers as it comes to denim.
In the 1943 Levi's Jeans registered for the first time the arcuate trademark, in order to properly protect it against copy by other denim brands.
The Court held the reasons of the famous Brand, arguing that – after a comparison between Parties' products, it was clear that the line-shaped figure used on the back pockets of goods by the Chinese company was essentially identical to LEVI STRAUSS's Arcuate Design constituting a clear IP rights violation.
As consequence, the Court ordered to the defendant to stop infringing the Plaintiff`s trademark rights and recognized to the Chinese Company that runs the brand in China, a compensation of CNY 130,000 as economic losses suffered for the infringing conduct.
This judgement constitutes an important achieve for the US company and is definitely worth attention as well.
This judgment is actually an example of how the use and the promotion of the product led the relevant public to associate the product with the Brand.
Indeed, it is clear that Levi's highly promoted and sell their iconic jeans over the years becoming a well-known product in China.
Furthermore, even while speaking of minor details like a back pocket, a mark can acquired distinctiveness in China enabling the identification of the origin of the goods.
Last but not least, this constitutes a good deterrent. We highly believe that – from now on – the possible infringers will be effectively deterred unless they want to take the risk of …. Being left only with the clothes they are standing in!