Trade-mark Protection: LEE vs L.E.I.

Courtesy of LeeL.E.I. for jeans is arguably confusing with both LEVI’S and LEE, making it a perfect candidate for a trade-mark battle.  Lee Canada went to bat to defend its LEE brand in the face of an application for the mark L.E.I. (stylized) for use in association with jeans. Lee Canada opposed the registration – and won – on the grounds of confusion with its registered LEE marks, used in Canada since 1937. (Lee Canada Inc. v. Jones Investment Co., 71 C.P.R. (4th) 112 (T.M.O.B.).)

The owner of the L.E.I. mark also owns associated marks L.E.I. LIFE ENERGY INTELLIGENCE for clothing.  Though the mark LEE is not highly distinctive according to the Trade-marks Opposition Board, Lee Canada was able to establish that its reputation in Canada was entitled to protection.  The application for the mark L.E.I. was refused, but the damage may already be done: the same owner already owns a registered mark for L.E.I. for jeans, registered in 2002, a mark that likely slipped past Lee Canada.  L.E.I.-brand jeans are sold in Walmart, and recently signed-on country star Taylor Swift to endorse the clothing line, so this brand is not one to be ignored.

Calgary – 15:00 MST

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