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EU Court to Decide Levi's Jeans Case

Preview / WEEK OF NOV. 19-25

November 19, 2001|Reuters

European consumers are due to find out Tuesday whether companies that sell them low-priced Levi's jeans imported from outside the European Union are violating the law.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice's decision in the case, which pits British supermarket group Tesco against privately held U.S. jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co., will hand down legal standards that British courts must use in making a final ruling.

The decision may have a broad effect on consumers, determining if merchants across Europe can legally buy everything from motorcycles and auto parts to toys and perfume outside the European Union and sell them in the EU at prices below those of manufacturers' authorized importers.

Tesco touched off the legal wrangling three years ago by purchasing Levi's jeans in the U.S. and selling them for $36 to $43, nearly half the prices Britons were being charged at the time by authorized European suppliers.

Levi Strauss said the sales violated its European trademark rights.

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