Gucci America Inc.’s lawsuit against Guess Inc. appears to be over in the U.S., but the luxury goods maker is forging ahead with new cases filed in China, Italy and France.
Fresh off its $4.7 million win against Guess and its footwear licensee, Marc Fisher Footwear, in a Manhattan federal court Monday, Gucci said it remains “firmly committed to take the necessary action to preserve the integrity, exclusivity and distinctiveness” of its brand.
“Gucci is extremely pleased with this decision, which should serve as a powerful deterrent for those who attempt to unlawfully exploit Gucci’s intellectual property,” Gucci president and chief executive officer Patrizio di Marco said Tuesday.
Judge Shira Scheindlin, who presided over the case, may have ruled in favor of Gucci by awarding the brand injunctive relief, barring the defendants from using the green-red-green stripe, the Quattro G pattern in brown and beige colorways and certain square G marks, but she only awarded Gucci a fraction of the $221 million it was asking for.
“The damages were surprisingly low considering the amount of time that the sales of the infringing product had been going on,” Brokate offered.
Although the lawsuit was filed in 2009, Gucci based its claims on over a decade of Guess infringement of a variety of trademarks. Interestingly, the judge didn’t rule on Gucci’s counterfeit infringement claims, but instead on trademark dilution, which is arguably more difficult to prove, as it applies to what the court must define as “famous marks.”
While Monday’s decision is by no means landmark, it has legal experts linking it to fashion’s other big lawsuit: Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci’s sister brand, which is also part of PPR Group. That case, which examines whether Louboutin should be able to keep its red-sole trademark, is currently being deliberated on by the Court of Appeals here.
At issue in the Louboutin case is whether a color can be trademarked for fashion items. In the Gucci case, the judge said that the red-green-red coloration when designated to three stripes is a viable trademark that demands protection.
“In the context of Louboutin, Judge Scheindlin tacitly affirmed that color marks are protectable,” said Susan Scafidi, director of Fordham University’s Fashion Law Institute.
While this may be the case, don’t expect the Gucci ruling to play a material role in the Louboutin case.
“I don’t see this case having a significant effect on that case,” said Brokate, who noted that while the judge’s ruling may not impact Louboutin vs. YSL, it would leave a mark on the industry.
Ending her opinion with a quote from Oscar Wilde that refers to fashion as “a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” the judge made it clear that Gucci and Guess should have settled the matter out of court.
According to sources, the “ugliness” referred more to questionable lawyering practices spanning the three years than the merits of Gucci’s claims.
Notwithstanding, Brokate offered his view on the judge’s opinion: “Aside from the Oscar Wilde quote being pretty funny, the way she ended her decision was essentially like, both parties spent a lot of time and a lot of money — and for what?”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion