Remember back in the 90′s, before J Brand, before Seven and when Victoria Beckham was Victoria Adams, an Essex girl with dreams of pop stardom? Remember what all the cool kids wore? Levi’s, the very company that invented jeans. Preferably 501′s, which were the very epitome of cool, fueled by a series of advertisements to the raucous sound of The Clash’s ‘Should I stay or should I go’ and The Steve Miller Band’s ‘The Joker’. Oh what my 12 year old self would have given for a pair with those tiny golden stitches and that little red flag sewn into the right seam of the back pocket. But it’s no longer the nineties, and today Levi’s are the preserve of embarrasing middle aged dads intent on being cool but failing miserably.
Here at Wigsandgowns we’d pretty much forgotten about the brand, now replaced in our affections with J Brand boyfriend jeans and Mulberry’s high waisted flares. But our favourite brand of yore is hitting the headlines this week -the San Francisco company has won the right to stop rivals using that red little flag on jeans.
Levi Strauss currently owns the EU trademarks for the red tab itself in a certain position on jeans pockets, as well as the “composite” mark of the same red tab carrying the word Levi’s. The company took legal action in Germany against a Swiss firm, Colloseum Holdings, for breaching its trademark rights by selling jeans with a similar rectangular red cloth bearing its own brand name stitched into the right seam of the back pocket.
The company argued that the red cloth “flag” would be recognised by consumers as a sign of “red tab” jeans made by Levi Strauss – even without the Levi’s brand logo being printed on it. Colloseum denied any risk of its own red label causing confusion because its company name was included. Colloseum also argued that Levi Strauss should lose the trade mark rights to the red tab alone as it had never used it, contravening EU “genuine use” requirements for brands which can mean loss of a trade mark which is not used for at least five years.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg disagreed, and decreed that the red tab could be seen as an integral part of the Levi’s brand.
Perhaps the current 90′s revival will see the brand surge in popularity again? Embarrassing dads the world over will be ready for action!