Guess Inc. emerged from its second trademark faceoff against Gucci with a big win.
An Italian court in Milan rejected Guccio Gucci SpA’s claim that Guess had violated several of its trademarks and even took the step of canceling three of the marks Gucci had registered for Italy and the European Community.
Gucci said it will “certainly bring an appeal.”
It’s a win for Guess, after Gucci prevailed last May in federal court in Manhattan on a suit raising ostensibly the same issues. Gucci won a qualified victory, when the court awarded it only $4.7 million in damages, a fraction of the more than $221 million it sought.
The Milan decision, an 83-page verdict made public Friday, serves to cancel the diamond pattern, G logo and “Flora” pattern trademarks previously registered by Gucci in Italy and the EU, noting specifically that the “Flora” logo is “not distinct.” Additionally, the court held that Guess’s Quattro G-diamond pattern isn’t related to Gucci’s interlocking double-G pattern.
Guess sought the nullification of the designs in a counterclaim following the 2009 filing of the suits in New York and Milan by Gucci.
A Guess spokeswoman confirmed that Gucci’s other suits against Guess in both China and France are ongoing.
Paul Marciano, chief executive officer of Guess, commented, “In my opinion, the three-year battle in New York and four years in Milan was a result of massive and unnecessary litigation that should have been easily resolved with a simple phone call, which Gucci never made.”
Marciano continued, “The tactics of Gucci are nothing less than bullying. Because of their endless resources, Gucci has been forum shopping all over the world to try and stop Guess from expanding its successful accessories business. It’s fundamentally wrong and unconscionable.”
Gucci described the use of a number of G-based logos by Guess as “unlawful and parasitic free-riding on Gucci’s trademark and, in general, its brand image.”
Gucci said it would “certainly bring an appeal against the above decision, which in its view is potentially dangerous for the protection of ‘Made in Italy.’ In particular, Gucci will ask that the Court of Appeals entirely set aside said decision, by granting both its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims against Guess.”
Pier Luigi Roncaglia, of the Italian law firm Studio Legale SIB, which provided outside counsel for Gucci, said that the trademark matter was secondary in the decision and that the marks were generally not being used by the brand.
“The important aspect of the decision was unfair competition,” he told WWD. “Our main argument, and the one that was recognized in the case in New York, was that those marks were associated with the reputation of Gucci and that Guess was trying to get a free ride based on Gucci’s reputation. That was the core of the litigation and the judge [in Milan] ignored the decision in the U.S., which essentially said that Guess didn’t independently create those designs. That will be the basis for our appeal and the strongest argument for a reversal of the decision.”
Daniel Petrocelli of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, which has provided outside counsel for Guess for many years, asserted, “This case was heard in the birthplace of Gucci and the bottom line is that every single one of its claims was rejected and Guess’ counterclaim was granted.”
He said that Gucci and Guess were still waiting for the scheduling of cases in China and France.
A trademark attorney not involved in the case, Robert Tucker, a partner at Tucker & Latifi LLP in New York, said, “That a court in New York and another in Milan came down with different findings on the same issue is not unusual. Gucci was probably buoyed by the decision in New York and figured it had a slam-dunk in Italy, where it would enjoy hometown advantage.
“These two companies shouldn’t be litigating,” he said. “Any time it’s one titan versus another, it’s really important to look at the downside.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)