Levi Strauss’s Trademark and Domain Name Claims May Block Unauthorized Resales — Levi Strauss v. Papikian

1 06 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Levi Strauss & Co v. Papikian Enterprises, C 10-05051 JSW (N.D. Cal.; Aug. 24, 2011) [pdf]

Facts: Levi Strauss owns trademarks for “Levi’s,” “501” and other terms. It sells its products directly and to authorized retailers but does not sell through “distributors, wholesalers or jobbers.” Retailers are contractually restricted from reselling “first quality merchandise.” Papikian registered several domain names (501USA.com, 550jeans.com, 517jeans.com) through which he offered Levi Strauss products for sale. Levi Strauss grumbled about his use of various Levi Strauss trademarks and how Papikian sold goods to EU residents. The parties engaged in settlement discussions which were not fruitful, and ultimately Levi Strauss brought suit, alleging trademark and cybersquatting claims. Levi Strauss alleged that in response to some of Levi Strauss’s complaints, Papikian made some changes to his website, but at some point along the way, these changes reverted, and Papikian’s website “looked more professional, offered [Levi Strauss] products exclusively, and make more extensive use of [Levi Strauss] trademarks.”

Papikian brought a motion for summary judgment, which the court denies.


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