A court in Brussels has ordered Dutch retail chain Hema to pay a €4.5m fine for selling jeans that are too much like those made by jeans giant Levi’s.
The stitching on back pockets of the jeans too closely resembles the distinctive stitching on Levi’s jeans, the American jeans maker claimed at a special court in Brussels.
If the Hema continues to sell the jeans it will incur a €100 fine for each pair sold. According to the Volkskrant Levi’s had asked for €10,000 per pair of jeans.
The retail chain has already sold 221,603 pairs of Levi’s-like jeans in the Benelux countries.
It’s not the first time Levi’s has taken on the Hema, the paper writes. In 2003 the Hema also sold jeans with similar back pocket stitching and the case was settled out of court, with the Hema recognising the ‘arcuate’, or characteristic shape of the back pocket stitching, as a Levi’s trademark.
That agreement has ‘apparently ended up at the bottom of a drawer’, the Volkskrant writes.
Levi’s lawyer told the paper the arcuate shape is a strong trademark, and it would do ‘untold damage’ to the brand if people thought the Hema was selling Levi’s jeans.