Bad News for anyone who wants some Japanese Repos

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by weirdnjfan1, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. PG2G

    PG2G Senior member

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    Do any of you think that this is all pure coincidence? That now that Levis is trying to put a foothold on the premium denim space, I saw a pair the other day retailing for $175, that they'd go after those brands which on the strength of Levis brand elements have sold very well during the past couple of years. I don't see what all the fuss is about, they still make denim that far exceeds anything Levis can produce, so the back pocket changes slightly and you don't have a red tab, big deal. You guys weren't buying them for that reason anyway, right?

    If they are, it makes Levi's actions even more logical :p
     
  2. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If they are, it makes Levi's actions even more logical :p
    It does. If these brands suffer greatly it is because people were buying them because of their close similarity to Levis. I wouldn't be surprised given that the Japanese in general are notoriously brand whores. What I'd hope these companies understand is that there EU and US buyers (evidenced in part by this board) are much more concerned with workmanship and overall design and thus setting up shop in places like Amsterdam and New York make a hell of a lot of sense.
     
  3. parachutes

    parachutes Senior member

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    It does. If these brands suffer greatly it is because people were buying them because of their close similarity to Levis. I wouldn't be surprised given that the Japanese in general are notoriously brand whores. What I'd hope these companies understand is that there EU and US buyers (evidenced in part by this board) are much more concerned with workmanship and overall design and thus setting up shop in places like Amsterdam and New York make a hell of a lot of sense.

    I wouldn't think levi's had much better brand image in japan than in the US, in the years the accused brands were establised all the way up to now. I can hardly believe those brands decided to base their jeans on levi's because japanese are brandwhores(not that I disagree with the phrase, because there are tons of them here). Like a lot of us have been saying its more about paying homage to the classic pairs when levi's made jeans that were actually worth paying for.

    But after decades of paying respect I say its about time to move on. Now that the boundary is gone, I'm curious to see how they will meet up with the expectations/concerns of their devoted fans like you mentioned.
     
  4. GWHiZiTSPHiL

    GWHiZiTSPHiL Senior member

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    you guys aren't getting it, i know what the point of it was. they just should've expected heat from levis for doing that. you have to be a dumb dumb to not expect it, i'm sorry if that includes anyone here.
     
  5. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    It would have been suicidally irresponsible for Levi's not to have done this. You guys may not like it, and you may have some sort of airy-fairy version of what corporations should and shouldn't do, and you may have an equally tainted view of the artistic integrity of jeans, but we have copyright laws for reasons and any company who does not use them to their best advantage is doing a disservice to their shareholders, their workers and the economy in general.
     
  6. Rye GB

    Rye GB Angry Englishman

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    It would have been suicidally irresponsible for Levi's not to have done this. You guys may not like it, and you may have some sort of airy-fairy version of what corporations should and shouldn't do, and you may have an equally tainted view of the artistic integrity of jeans, but we have copyright laws for reasons and any company who does not use them to their best advantage is doing a disservice to their shareholders, their workers and the economy in general.
    I'm not sure it would have been suicidal on Levi's part to have approached this whole episode differently. Levi's weekly turnover is probably still greater than the yearly turnover of the companies they are attacking. If someone at Levi's had some insight they would have taken the opportunity to either claim some part ownership/collaborate or allow these companies to license certain aspects of historical Levi's product. Instead the giant corporate fist hit the table and inept business practices from Levi's HQ took precedent again. I guess they'll continue to spend money on lame marketing/fashion forecasting demographic research companies to figure out why they keep slipping up. As for there shareholders, Fuck them!, the majority share holders couldn't give a fuck about the product!.
     
  7. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I agree that this is not true trademark infringement. No one buys a $300 repro jean because they genuinely think it is a $35 Levi. Unless Levi's position is that they are trying to steal the masochist market.

    The test of trademark infringement is Consumer Confusion.

    I suspect that a judge/jury would agree, but it is close enough that no judge would offer a quick summary judgement. So you are stuck with years of legal fees to win it.

    I'm not really an IP lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. That said, that's an overly narrow statement regarding trademark infringement. The trademark owner has a bundle of rights that may be infringed in a variety of ways - some of these are true "trademark" rights, others are not strictly speaking trademark issues but are somewhat related. Consumer confusion certainly is a key concept in assessing potential violations, especially when the alleged violation involves "passing off" one company's product as those of another. But there are also issues of trademark dilution and the like. An earlier poster talked about the smaller companies gaining "cred" by riffing off the iconic Levi features. Some would argue that that is another way of saying that they used the familiarity and "status" Levi had developed to give themselves a leg up -- essentially reaping the fruits of Levi's labors.
    I'm not endorsing the tactics Levi is pursuing here. But legally, the issues are a little more complicated than whether consumers are buying repro's in the mistaken belief that they are actually Levis.
     
  8. swisloc

    swisloc Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure it would have been suicidal on Levi's part to have approached this whole episode differently. Levi's weekly turnover is probably still greater than the yearly turnover of the companies they are attacking.

    If someone at Levi's had some insight they would have taken the opportunity to either claim some part ownership/collaborate or allow these companies to license certain aspects of historical Levi's product. Instead the giant corporate fist hit the table and inept business practices from Levi's HQ took precedent again.

    I guess they'll continue to spend money on lame marketing/fashion forecasting demographic research companies to figure out why they keep slipping up.

    As for there shareholders, Fuck them!, the majority share holders couldn't give a fuck about the product!.


    ummm... you're right, the shareholders care about money, and a company that sets an example of letting other companies SMALL OR LARGE co-opt their trademarks for captial gain will cease making money. This, as ianmatt so eliquently put, would be absolutely irresponsible of a group of executives whos sole responsibility is to protect the assets of a company.

    now it is simply up to these companies to do their due-dilegence and update their product or stop selling. plain and simple.
     
  9. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    Can we use friendly euphemisms when stereotyping an entire culture please? I prefer "brand conscious," or the more positive "brand loyal." [​IMG]
     
  10. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    It would have been suicidally irresponsible for Levi's not to have done this. You guys may not like it, and you may have some sort of airy-fairy version of what corporations should and shouldn't do, and you may have an equally tainted view of the artistic integrity of jeans, but we have copyright laws for reasons and any company who does not use them to their best advantage is doing a disservice to their shareholders, their workers and the economy in general.

    We're not looking at this from your perspective. I couldn't give two shits about the shareholders or about Levi's corporate. What I see are defenseless small companies I support being attacked for violating an unreasonable copyright. The copyright says you cannot sew a fabric in between the back pocket and the seat of the jeans. Ridiculous.
     
  11. VMan

    VMan Senior member

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    I remember when I was 18 or 19, living in the high-rise dorm towers at my school, there were a good number of Japanese students studying abroad. They all seemed to wear cool Levis - with fits and fades that I had never seen.

    I assumed them to be regular Levis made for the Japanese market, but now realize they were probably raw repros. Keep in mind this was about 4+ years ago - before raw denim was popular on the forum.

    I like the idea of repros - but the signature red tab and pocket stitching always turned me away. I have a strong aversion to regular Levis, what with the quality drop and current ubiquity.

    Hopefully these companies will stay afloat; use the publicity to their advantage so that they continue to be the 'good guys'.
     
  12. tundrafour

    tundrafour Senior member

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    I'm so conflicted! On the one hand, I'm pissed off at Levi's and feel somewhat compelled to irrationally drop $300 on a pair of repros with arcuates, a tab, and a clever-yet-silly leather patch featuring two objects/animals pulling apart a pair of jeans.

    On the other hand, I like the idea of high-quality repros without those design elements that I would likely have removed after buying them, anyway.

    I did like the pigs on the Studio d'Artisan patch, though.
     
  13. skalogre

    skalogre Senior member

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    I'm so conflicted! On the one hand, I'm pissed off at Levi's and feel somewhat compelled to irrationally drop $300 on a pair of repros with arcuates, a tab, and a clever-yet-silly leather patch featuring two objects/animals pulling apart a pair of jeans. On the other hand, I like the idea of high-quality repros without those design elements that I would likely have removed after buying them, anyway. I did like the pigs on the Studio d'Artisan patch, though.
    Same here on the pigs. I don't like the Levi's branding, either. Ideally I would always get blank back pockets. And like you, even though I cannot afford it, I was looking through the BiG site last night to see if there were any Samurai or Oni that struck a chord with me. Thankfully that moment of weakness passed. I still want a pair of SD-105 at some point though. And some SDA shirts (not yet ready to plop down $90 for a t-shirt!)
     
  14. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Sized Down 2

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    It would have been suicidally irresponsible for Levi's not to have done this. You guys may not like it, and you may have some sort of airy-fairy version of what corporations should and shouldn't do, and you may have an equally tainted view of the artistic integrity of jeans, but we have copyright laws for reasons and any company who does not use them to their best advantage is doing a disservice to their shareholders, their workers and the economy in general.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but for my part, I'm not pissed that Levi's decided to defend their trademark; I'm pissed at how they're defending it. It appears that they purposefully waited until most of the Japanese denim companies had made their shipments and thus had sunk most of their cash, and now they've prevented them from selling their stock. For small companies like Oni, for example, this may actually be enough to kill them outright. I hope not, but it might. Given that the companies producing repros aren't actually stealing consumers from Levis--because as a denimhead, I can tell you, Levi's doesn't offer a product that's even vaguely comparable--doesn't that seem simply vindictive? The companies aren't even competing for the same consumers.

    Further, I'm pissed because this is probably going to be most damaging for the small business owners like Gordon at BiG and Kiya at Self Edge, who suddenly have rent and employees and no (or drastically reduced) product. The Japanese companies are going to comply, so why not time this in such a way to allow them to do so without potentially destroying some of the manufacturing companies and small businesses selling the product?
     
  15. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    Everything I post

    [​IMG] I hadn't even thought of it that way. Now I'm even more pissed. But just to anyone who might be having crazy ideas: Kiya has stressed several times NOT to try and organize petitions, pickets, etc., especially while this is still blowing over. We don't have as much info as he does, and he has said that Levi's is in the right (legally), and they are winning this, without question.
     

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