Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Jeans firms battle in High Court

According to G-Star, a Jeanswest style called Dean Biker Slim' contained features of its Elwood 5620 design, which was created by Frenchman Pierre Morisset in 1995.
According to G-Star, a Jeanswest style called Dean Biker Slim' contained features of its Elwood 5620 design, which was created by Frenchman Pierre Morisset in 1995.

Two designs of jeans made by rival clothing companies are so similar that one must have been copied from the other, a court was told.

A stoush between G-Star Raw and Jeanswest Corporation New Zealand began in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.

Dutch clothing company G-Star and a distributor have alleged Australian-owned Jeanswest sold a style of pants that was a copy, or "substantial copy", of one of its copyrighted designs.

In his opening argument, G-Star lawyer David Marriott said Jeanswest had sold infringing copies of one of his client's "iconic designs".

According to G-Star, a Jeanswest style called Dean Biker Slim' contained features of its Elwood 5620 design, which was created by Frenchman Pierre Morisset in 1995.

Its features include oval-shaped knee pads, horizontal stitching across the back of each knee, a straight line of double stitching diagonally across the front of each thigh, a saddle pad at the back and heel guards behind each leg.

Morisset had created what he called a "three-dimensional jean design" that was "shaped to fit an active body", Marriott told Justice Paul Heath.

"When you look at the degree of similarity between what Jeanswest made in 2009 and what G-Star already had on the market at that time, the degree of similarity is so overwhelming that it is impossible to conclude anything other than they must have copied it from one of the G-Star Jeans," Marriott said.

"As the evidence comes out, it will be apparent how important this design that's alleged to have been copied is to G-Star and indeed to the fashion world," he said.

A number of pairs of jeans were produced as evidence and Morisset was expected to give evidence via video-link from Amsterdam last night. If needed, the court was going to sit until midnight.

The G-Star case, scheduled to run into next week, seeks a declaration the copyright infringement took place, an injunction and damages.

- NZ Herald

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