-Levi's is suing your two favorite denim stores in America, along with Studio D'Artisan, Iron Heart, Toyo/Sugarcane, Oni (BS United), and Samurai.
-Everybody is being sued for trademark infringment
-All sales of the above mentioned brands are to be stopped by Friday, January 19, 2007 WORLDWIDE
-US and Japanese Customs are in on this, no jeans made by the above brands are to be sent out of Japan starting two days ago (January 15) to stores OR consumers. you've been warned, don't attempt to order your jeans via a bidding service or have a friend send them to you
-The offending points are as follows: 1. There are to be NO tabs attatched between two pieces of fabric on the rear pockets, 2. The cards hanging out of the back pocket, stapled to the pocket, must not look anything like vintage/modern Levi's Info Cards, 3. Arcuates on the rear pockets must not resemble the Levi's arcuate in ANY way shape or form, 4. Rear leather patch cannot contain an image of two moving objects (horses, motorcylcles, pigs, etc..) pulling apart a pair of jeans
-All product with any of the above mentioned accents must be pulled from the shelves of every store in the world by Friday, January 19
-I've spoken to most of the manufacturers named in the lawsuit in Japan already and they are quickly working on producing jeans with either NO back pocket stitching or stitching that is greatly different than the Levi's Arcuate. We are looking at a four week period where there will be very low stock of denim from these companies
-There are four more companies they're going after, i cannot name those at this time.
-This is one of the most comprehensive and largest lawsuits Levi's has filed against Japanese denim manufacturers
a few quick updates:
-this was a court order, NOT ceast and desist.
-Levi's is winning this, there's no doubt about it
-This lawsuit has been many months in the works, maybe even before any of the aformentioned stores opened
-cuts will NOT have to change, this has nothing to do with cuts, read my original post if you think that the cuts will have to be altered
-many of the companies named in the lawsuit have already sent me mock-up drawings of ideas of labels, stitchings, etc.. i have mixed feelings, but i guarantee what ever they come up with will be classic, timeless, and fit the persona of the designer. they take our opinions to heart, so you can know that we're not going to be behind any terrible outlandish stitchings. which by the way, nobody has yet to submit anything that's made me want to gag... you should have no worries...
I have to say it really doesn't come as a surprise since Blue in Green and Self Edge have been selling these jeans with the red tab and the Levi's-like arcuate. They had it coming for them and I don't think they thought that they would get away with this.
There are many ways to look at this - some say it was only fair that these brands got sued since they infringed Levi's trademarks, some rearrange the letters in Levi's to "Evils", some are talking about a boycott(let's be realistic here..) and some don't really care.
I personally think that it is just the Japanese companies have to pay up, after all they DID infringe on someone's intellectual property(whether intellectual property is a bad or a good thing is another discussion though) and should pay for that. Another thing to discuss is if it's really right that someone can trademark "a tab between two pieces of fabric" which is something that Levi's has apparently trademarked, not just the red tab and the placement of it.
On the other hand, I think that it is sad that some details that has added so much to the spirit of some brands, I think the biggest loser here will be Studio D'Artisan - the two pigs pulling apart a pair of jeans on the patch is just hilarious and probably why the SD-103s were my first Japanese jeans. Then again, they can still have pigs doing other things on their patches, so it's not that big of a loss I guess.
The Flat Head, Sugarcane and Ironheart are going to change the arcuate and patches on all their products, even for those sold in Japan. They are supposed to decide on the new designs tomorrow, hopefully we'll get to see them then too.
I don't really understand why they are changing also their Japanese product since Levi's don't have the same trademarks in Japan, right now I'm guessing that maybe the lawsuit was conditioned so that they would not have to pay up if they changed their accent details.
I believe that the rest of the brands will only change their export models, so I don't think this thing is really as big as it sounds. I think you will still be able to buy the same jeans from Japan.