Killer jeans maker drags Levi’s to court over design infringement
Mumbai: The maker of ‘Killer’ jeans Kewal Kiran Clothing Ltd (KKCL) has taken iconic denim brand Levi’s owner Levi Strauss (India) Pvt. Ltd to court for the alleged infringement of its registered design, said two people familiar with the development.
According to the first person quoted above, BSE-listed KKCL has filed a case in the Bombay high court alleging that American clothing brand Levi’s is infringing their registered design that the company is using since August 2010.
“The Indian company had registered ‘vertebral column’ design, which is also known as the surface pattern, that the company is using to stitch from the sides,” said second person privy to the development.
“Kewal Kiran has filed the case against Levi Strauss on 1 March and the case came for the hearing on 18 April,” the person added
The firm had moved the court, alleging infringement of their design and passing off.
‘Passing-off’ in intellectual property rights (IPR) law means making a false representation that is likely to induce a person to believe the goods or services are those of another. Levi Strauss has filed its reply in the case on 18 April.
"The advocate appearing for the defendants (Levi Strauss) has tendered the reply of the defendants. The same is taken on record," said Justice S.J. Kathawala in an order passed on 18 April.
“The Plaintiff (KKCL) to file affidavit in rejoinder, if any, within a period of four weeks from today,” the order further adds.
The court will hear the matter further on 27 June.
An email query to Mumbai-based KKCL remained unanswered till the time of filing the story.
Ramesh Gajria, founder of law firm Gajria and Co. who is representing KKCL in the matter along with senior counsel Virendra Tulzapurkar, confirmed the development, but refused to divulge any details since the matter is subjudice.
While Levi Strauss declined to comment on the story, senior advocate Venkatesh Dhond, who is representing Levi Strauss India, also confirmed the development, but refused to divulge any details.
Mumbai-based KKCL reported a consolidated revenue of Rs492.37 crore, up 7.67% year-on-year (y-o-y) in FY17. Its net profit rose more than 25% to Rs85.27 crore for the year to March 2017, as per the company’s annual report.
The maker of Levi’s brand of denims reported a revenue of Rs842.4 crore for the year to March 2017, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). Its net profit declined 27% year-on-year to Rs57.8 crore during the same period.
The American jeans brand is not new to legal disputes in India.
Earlier, in mid-2015, another home-grown firm Federal Brands Ltd, the owner of Live In jeans, had filed a suit against Levi’s India for infringement of copyright and sought damages of Rs75 crore after the US apparel company launched a global marketing campaign—the Live In Levi’s Project.
The Indian denim maker was seeking the court’s intervention to stop Levi Strauss and Co from using the prefix ‘Live In’.
However, later in February 2017, both the companies had opted for an out-of-court settlement
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