Summary of Jordache Enterprises v. Levi Strauss, U.S. D. Ct. NY, 1993
Trademark Infringement -Likelihood of consumer confusion as to product’s source
Relevant Facts: Jordache and Levi Strauss are a nationally known manufacturers and distributors of jeans. Jordache began using the mark Jordache Basics 101. Levi had a pre-existing use of 501,701, and 901 trademarks. Each company sells five pocket, metal riveted style jeans to both men and women. Jordache applied to register the 101 names w/ USPTO, Levi filed oppositions to each. Jordache abandoned its application to register. Three years later Jordache filed an intent to use application to register the mark Jordache Basics 101 w/ star and wing design. Levi opposed.
Legal Issue(s): Whether Jordache’s use of the 101, constitutes a reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of Levi’s 501,701, or 901 trademarks, likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive a number of purchasers?
Court’s Holding: Determination is reserved for a jury.
Procedure: Levi filed opposition to Jordache’s application to register a mark, that decision is suspended until judgment of this case. Both parties filed for summary judgment.
Law or Rule(s): Lanham Act prohibits, “any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered trademark," where “such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive."
Court Rationale: The likelihood that an appreciable number of consumers will be misled, or simply confused as to the source of the goods in question is determined by multiple factors. The 1st factor -strength of the mark – weighs heavily in Levi’s favor. The 501 mark is arbitrary and fanciful in that it apart from the numerical meaning it stands to identify Levi as the source of the jeans. The 7th Quality of Df’s Product supports the inference that the goods emanate from the same source favors Levi. The 8th Sophistication of the buyers, jean purchasers are conscious of trademarks increases the likelihood that the 101 mark will cause confusion favors Levi.
The 2nd Degree of similarity between the two marks, 3rd Proximity of the Products in targeting same general market; 4thLikelihood that Levi will Bridge the Gap and enter a related field; 6th Dfs Good Faith are disputed issues of fact left for the jury to decide.
Plaintiff’s Argument: Jordache Basics 101 mark directs the consumer to a line of jeans with five pockets, zipper front, western style, emanating a tight body/sexy fit.
Defendant’s Argument: Use of the mark 101 will likely cause confusion or mislead the public into believing that Jordache jeans either originated from or were associated with Levi