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Gucci Case Against Guess to Proceed

A federal district court judge in Manhattan has denied Guess Inc.’s request to dismiss a 2009 lawsuit against it over trademark infringement issues.

A federal district court judge in Manhattan has denied Guess Inc.’s request to dismiss a 2009 lawsuit against it filed by Gucci America Inc. over trademark infringement issues.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

It wasn’t a total loss for Guess, however, in that the district court judge ruled in Guess’ favor regarding Gucci’s dilution claims over the “Square G” and “Quattro G” designs. The judge ruled that Gucci provided “no credible evidence” to raise any issue that actual dilution has occurred, and those claims against Guess were dismissed.

Other claims by Gucci, such as those regarding a “script Guess logo” and a claim over a “green-red-green stripe,” were allowed to continue because of the existence of material factual issues. Gucci also sued on the ground of post-sale infringement, that post-sale observers could confuse the allegedly infringing Guess products with those belonging to Gucci. Because of the possibility of consumer confusion, the court ruled against Guess and allowed the claim to proceed.

Gucci is seeking damages of $26 million, as well as an accounting of profits estimated by a damage expert to be in excess of $98 million. Due to actual post-sale confusion regarding one alleged infringing design claim and the possibility of bad faith intent to deceive with respect to the alleged infringing use of the other three designs, Guess lost its bid to have the damage claims dismissed.