Levi's goes after 'copyists'
See the Jan. 29, 2007 NYTimes article "Levis' Turns to Suing Its Rivals" for revelations on how the San Francisco denim maker is attempting to protect its brand.
Not only must other denim manufacturers be wary of placing any form of topstitched arc on the rear pockets of their jeans, you can't place a label in the vertical pocket seam on either the right or left side. They have a world wide team of store detectives looking for violations of their patent.
It's rare to have a patent on a sewn product in the garment industry. Gee, I guess Levi's really did invent something, huh?
Take a look at what Levi's considers to be an infringement~ As we saw in a previous MondoMode post on piracy and intellectual property issues in the fashion industry, copying can sometimes spur innovation. Apparently innovation is no longer Levi's business.
Stories abound in the Garment Center of design team meetings at the Gap with file folders with 500 pocket designs on the table. Don't quite like the look of that one? Let's try this.
Is Levi's, and in turn all of the denim manufacturers that it has spawned, so bereft of ideas? I agree that those manufacturers that are able to protect their brand should do so, no quarrel there. What gets me is that Levi's, a company that has more money than God, and 'owns' the concept of denim jeans, was unable to see which way the wind blows. Let's do some designing, what do you say?
Don't get me started on how the Gap has also given up its pre-eminent place as well! Is it something in the water in San Francisco? Nah, more likely it's the fickle finger of fashion. It's hard work to stay on the edge, maintain your customer base, and attract new customers as your base ages out.