MILAN — Gucci has scored another victory in a case of intellectual property.
This story first appeared in the July 25, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Court of Florence has found ToBeG Srl, a handbags and accessories firm created by Guccio Gucci and his brother Alessandro, great-grandsons of the luxury goods brand’s founder, guilty of infringement of Gucci’s trademarks. According to the judge, ToBeG has “illegitimately” used the names “Gucci” and “Guccio Gucci” for its marketing communications and Web site activities.
The judge ruled the use of the name “Guccio Gucci” “determined an unfair association” between ToBeG’s products and Gucci’s trademarks, and said the behavior of the first “constitutes an act of unfair competition to Gucci’s detriment because the advertising materials of the defendant caused confusion with Gucci’s products and business activities and took unfair advantage of the qualities and reputation of Gucci’s products,” according to a statement issued by Gucci.
For this reason, the court has enjoined ToBeG from using the name “Guccio Gucci.”
Gucci said it “welcome[d]” the decision and that it hoped the ruling will “represent a significant deterrent to anyone else who intends to illegally exploit the brand Gucci.”
Guccio Gucci spent 12 years at Gucci, where he coordinated development of product and research of hides, until the company was sold to Investcorp in 1989. After working in the textile industry for almost a decade, he went on to help his father, Giorgio, on the Giorgio G handbags line. ToBeG was launched in 2008.
Defending the Gucci name in cases involving the family has long been a priority for the company, which is not new to such litigations. Other lawsuits won by Gucci include a 2009 trademark case against Jennifer Gucci, the former wife of Paolo Gucci, grandson of Guccio Gucci, and their daughter Gemma Gucci, who were accused of licensing the name for coffee shops, bedding and other items; another suit two years ago against Cosimo Gucci in Hong Kong, and one versus Elisabetta Gucci, who was planning a global chain of hotels under her name.