Word on the street is Levi Strauss & Co successfully pushed through a court order barring any brand from making and selling jeans that infringe on what's considered to be LS&C intellectual property. Things like the little tab on the back pocket, similar paper marketing tags, images of two moving objects pulling apart a pair of jeans on the back patch, and stitches in the likeness of Levi's arcuate are all off limits. While this will help the company fight faked goods it's obvious that the agenda is against direct competitors of their LVC (Levi's Vintage Clothing) line.
Details are still trickling. Involved in the litigation are revered brands such as Samurai, Studio D'Artisan, Iron Heart, Sugarcane and Oni. These are Japanese names with people behind them that have passion for denim.
The products they create are respected in Japan and abroad for quality, attention to detail, and heritage. Unfortunately the love these people have for the history of denim is viewed by Levi's to be their sin. Their homage to the emblems of the iconic Levi's jeans is being viewed as an infringement of LS&C's trademarks. While there's no doubt they will continue to create amazing products much is left to be desired by consumers looking for Japanese "repros" that painstakingly reflect nuanced details of yesteryear's vintage Levi's jeans, many of which LS&C either doesn't make or gets wrong (despite a fair attempt by their LVC label).
Retailers everywhere (yes, including Japan) are required to pull products that fall into the ruling from the shelves.
Garments trying to get past US/Japanese customs won't make it (not intact anyway). The only two retailers in the USA who have made such beautiful garments available to us are affected: Self Edge in San Francisco and Blue in Green in New York City.
Confirmations and more scoop are in the works. Thanks to Kiya at Self Edge for the tip.