Court Reduces Marc Fisher’s Payout to Gucci

Guess Inc.'s footwear licensee will pay nearly $1.5 million less than previously ordered.

Marc Fisher Footwear is breathing easier today.

This story first appeared in the June 20, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Last month a New York federal court awarded Gucci $4.7 million in its three-year-long trademark case against Guess Inc. and its footwear licensee, Fisher. Now Judge Shira Scheindlin has reduced the damages owed by Fisher by nearly $1.5 million.

According to an amended opinion filed Monday, Marc Fisher must now pay Gucci $456,183, down from $1.9 million.

The total damages that Gucci is due from all parties in the case — including Guess — are now $4.61 million as Scheindlin corrected mathematical errors and oversights in identifying infringing styles.

The legal argument underpinning the ruling was unchanged.

RELATED STORY: Gucci Awarded $4.7M in Guess Case >>

Gucci originally sought damages of roughly $221 million, alleging that Guess and a handful of its licensees sold more than $200 million in goods that infringed on Gucci’s trademarks.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision to reduce the damages, although we are disappointed in the finding that any footwear infringed,” the Fisher firm told WWD. “Gucci clearly was overreaching, as reflected by the fact that more than 90 percent of Gucci’s claims were thrown out, leaving a minor dispute that could have been resolved years ago without litigation.”

Trademarks at issue during the trial, which was held from March 28 to April 19, included a block letter “G,” a combination of green-and-red stripes, a script and diamond-logoed motifs. The judge said Gucci had proven that Guess’ use of the Quattro G pattern in brown and beige colorways and Marc Fisher’s use of the green-red-green stripe diluted the luxury Italian design houses’ trademarks.

As a result, Gucci was granted damages, as well as a permanent injunction barring Guess from using the Quattro G pattern, the green-red-green stripe and certain other square G marks, but the judge did not find that the script logo caused any harm.

By company, Guess is ordered to pay $2.3 million, Mark Fisher must pay $456,183 and handbag licensee Signal Products Inc. has to fork over $1.8 million. Other licensees named in the suit include The Max Leather Group-Cipriani Accessories Inc. and Swank Inc., which have been ordered to pay $24,701 and $18,791, respectively.

“Gucci America acknowledges today’s decision in its case against Guess Inc. and its licensees, which simply corrects a calculation error on the court’s part in its original ruling,” Gucci told WWD. “This does not change the substance of the original May 21 decision, in which the court found that Guess had willfully infringed Gucci’s iconic designs and that for this reason Gucci should be granted an award on some of the profits made by Guess for its retail sales. Gucci remains confident that the court’s ruling in this case will continue to serve as a powerful deterrent.”

Gucci has filed similar trademark infringement cases against Guess in China, Italy and France.