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Lois Sportswear, U.S.A., Inc. v. Levi Strauss & Co.

799 F.2d 867 (1986)

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Lois Sportswear, U.S.A., Inc. v. Levi Strauss & Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

799 F.2d 867 (1986)

Facts

Levi Strauss & Co. (Levi) (defendant) was an American clothing manufacturer known around the world for its denim jeans with a distinct back-pocket stitching pattern of two intersecting arcs on both pockets. Levi’s had a registered trademark for this stitching pattern that consumers worldwide associated with Levi’s products. Lois Sportswear, U.S.A., Inc. (Lois) (plaintiff) imported jeans manufactured in Spain with a stitching pattern on the back pockets that was essentially identical to Levi’s registered-trademark stitching pattern. Levi lodged a protest with the United States Customs Bureau (bureau) to bar Lois’s import of these jeans because they violated Levi’s trademark rights. The bureau banned Lois’s import of these jeans, reversed itself, and then decided to impose another ban on importation. Lois filed suit in the Court of International Trade (CIT) against the bureau commissioner to prevent further interference. The CIT issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the bureau from banning import of the jeans. Lois brought an action in the district court, seeking a declaratory judgment that its use of the stitching pattern did not constitute infringement of Levi’s registered trademark in violation of the Lanham Trade-Mark Act. Levi argued that consumers worldwide associated Levi’s strong trademark in the stitching pattern with its denim jeans and that the similarity of Lois’s stitching pattern led to a likelihood of consumer confusion as to the source of Lois’s jeans. Both parties moved for summary judgment on the trademark-infringement claim. The district court granted summary judgment for Levi. Lois appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Timbers, J.)

Dissent (Miner, J.)

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