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Hema must pay €4.4 million to Levi Strauss

15:58 17/05/2018

Hema, the Dutch-owned retail chain of household products and clothing, has been ordered by a Brussels Commercial Court to pay €4.4 million to Levi Strauss. The court agreed with Levi’s that Hema’s use of stitching on a house brand of jeans was too similar to the international denim giant’s famous V shape.

Levi’s back-pocket stitching has been a registered trademark since 1981. The company had originally filed a damage claim for €50 for each pair of jeans Hema sold. That would have amounted to more than €12 million.

The court settled on €20 per pair, for a total of €4.4 million. Hema has sold 221,603 pairs of the jeans across the Benelux.

Hema, which operates nearly 100 outlets in Belgium, has been in trouble with Levi Strauss before. In 2003, a similar case was settled out of court, and Hema signed an agreement to never again duplicate the stitching.

Image: Hema’s design on the left, Levi’s on the right.
©Courtesy Commercial Court

Written by Lisa Bradshaw