Hema fined 4.5 million euros for selling Levi's look-a-likes
Dutch retailer Hema has been ordered to pay a fine of nearly 4.5 million euros to denim jeans label and manufacturer Levi Strauss. The Commercial Court in Brussels ordered the penalty on 14 May in a procedure instituted by Levi's.
According to the judge, Hema sold jeans in the Netherlands and Belgium with stitching on its back pockets that are very similar to the well-known stitching of the Levi's jeans, the arcuate design, reports Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. According to the newspaper, the judge believed there is indeed a risk that consumers might mistake the Hema jeans for Levi’s jeans.
The amount of the fine was determined by the number of jeans that Hema has sold in the Benelux region since 2015, when the model first came onto the market. To date, that is a total of 221,603 articles. Levi's initially demanded an amount of 50 euros per pair, however, this was lowered to a fee of 20 euros per pair by the judge, according to the newspaper. Furthermore, for every pair of jeans that Hema offers for sale after the ruling of May 14, it has to pay an additional €100 to Levi's.
Hema also launched a similar model of jeans in 2003, the newspaper added. Following the disapproval expressed by Levi's at the time, the case was closed in 2004 and Hema signed an agreement acknowledging the validity of Levi's trademark rights on the arcuate. Hema said at the time that it would never again sell similar jeans.
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